Hawaii False Alarm

The recent ballistic missile false alarm in Hawaii made headlines around the world. It was pretty quickly revealed that it occurred as the result of an employee selecting the wrong option from a menu of different options. There were two very similarly worded options, one for a “test” alert, and one for an actual alert. He selected, and then confirmed, the wrong one. Anyone who has used a computer for even a short period of time is aware of this potential error. It is rather disconcerting that a safety critical system such as this one doesn’t appear to have utilised any Human Factors/Ergonomics input or Usability Testing.

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