Mobile Devices, Human Error, Data Entry Error, Human Factors


The diversity and dynamic nature of disaster management environments necessitate the use of convenient, yet reliable, tools for technology. While there have been many improvements in mitigating the effects of disasters, it is clearly evident by recent events, such as Hurricane Katrina that issues related to emergency response and management require considerable research and improvement to effectively respond to these situations. One of the links in a disaster management chain is the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The EOC is a physical command center responsible for the overall strategic control of the disaster response and functions as an information and communication hub. The effectiveness and accuracy of the disaster response greatly depends on the quality and timeliness of inter-personnel communication within an EOC. The advent of handheld mobile communication devices have introduced new avenues of communication that been widely adopted by disaster management officials. The portability afforded by these devices allows users to exchange, manage and access vital information during critical situations. While their use and importance is gaining momentum, little is still known about the ergonomic and human reliability implications of human-handheld interaction, particularly in an Emergency Operations Center setting. The purpose of this effort is to establish basic human error probabilities (bHEP's) for handheld QWERTY data entry and to study the effects of various performance shaping factors, specifically, environmental conditions, communication load, and cognitive load. The factors selected are designed to simulate the conditions prevalent in an Emergency Operations Center. The objectives are accomplished through a three-factor between-subjects randomized full factorial experiment in which a bHEP value of 0.0296 is found. It is also determined that a combination of cognitive loading and environmental conditions has a statistically significant detrimental impact on the HEP.


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Graduation Date



Bush, Pamela


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Industrial Engineering and Management Systems

Degree Program

Industrial Engineering








Release Date

September 2009

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)