Field research for designers is critical to understanding needs. But it’s important to look beyond the culturally and socially acceptable responses participants might offer to see beyond the words; look at the environment, actions, habits, history, objects, interactions, positioning, importance, hacks, workarounds, inconvenience, awkwardness, emotions… This richness might be the difference between a solution that sticks and one that misses.
The primary interaction might be designed to be automated with readouts on large screens and reduced physical effort, but redundancy on critical equipment is not a secondary concern. When the redundancy is called upon it has to deliver the same performance in the same environment. It has to overcome the same challenges for the operators, it is not optional. With design moving into the increasingly digital realm its important for lessons learned designing physical interactions not to be lost or ignored. It might just save a life.