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HCI - H is also for Hazard: Using HAZOP to Identify Undesirable Consequences in Socio-Technical Systems

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Colin WatsonORCiD, Dr Ahmed KharrufaORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a conference proceedings (inc. abstract) that has been published in its final definitive form by ACM, 2021.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Technical interventions in socio-technical systems are often portrayed overly positively but can also have undesirable consequences which can directly impact adoption and sustainability. Systematically identifying what might go wrong is not straightforward. This paper presents the iterative development, including an early validation trial, of an HCI-focused collaborative brainstorming approach to identify deviations from design intent that harm people. The established Hazard and Operability Study (HAZOP) guide word based method, not applied before in a HCI context beyond safety-critical systems despite extensive use in other disciplines, has been adapted and applied. Motivated by the need to enumerate impacts of technology on marginalised individuals and their communities, and utilising the lead author's previous experience, a more human-orientated ‘HCI HAZOP’ was investigated. Using two feasibility studies and two pilot studies, the adapted method has been trialled, evaluated and refined. The studies' findings demonstrate the usefulness of the method identifying undesirable consequences, even by novel practitioners without any prior training. The paper presents the adaption as a methodological contribution, an application of ‘HCI HAZOP’ through studies using scenario-based design artifacts identifying limitations and benefits, and guidance materials for use by other researchers.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Watson C, Kharrufa A

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: ACM SIGCAS Conference on Computing and Sustainable Societies 2021 (ACM COMPASS '21)

Year of Conference: 2021

Online publication date: 28/06/2021

Acceptance date: 25/05/2021

Date deposited: 22/06/2021

Publisher: ACM


DOI: 10.1145/3460112.3471959