Design Framework for Audible Alarms: A Multidisciplinary and Integrated Approach
Rosana Sanz-Segura, Eduardo Manchado-Pérez, Elif Özcan


Designing alarms to address the increasing complexity of dynamic and interconnected systems in current socio-technological environments presents multi-faceted design problems that require systematic thinking and a collaborative and holistic approach. To understand the alarm design challenges better, we map out the design space for audible alarms in an applied domain, covering the alarm issues from the designers’ perspective, departing from the functional integrity of alarms, and bringing together the contribution of three major fields of expertise related to audible alarms (systems engineering, information design, and human factors). Three studies based on literature review, field observations, expert interviews, and focus groups are conducted by authors at different European Intensive Care Units. Our findings from these studies result in the definition of the components of audible alarm design, the key considerations for designing audible alarms, and a design framework for audible alarms that systematically integrates input from inter-connected disciplines that all aim for the success of a complex system that heavily relies on alarms.

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