There has been an explosion of interest in the development of computer-based Decision Support Systems (DSS) in agriculture. Humans factor, which is the design and evaluation of a system to optimize human and total system performance, offer tools to improve the usefulness of DSS. Task analysis, a formal human factors approach to study human-machine interaction, identifies all of the physical and psychological tasks which must be completed by either the human or the machine in order to meet the various system performance requirements and constraints. Our study focuses on the tasks associated with mid-winter stone fruit freeze protection. Using this technique we have identified work load and output requirements of current critical temperature estimation procedures, additional information needed to improve critical temperature estimates and training needs of fruit industry personnel making critical temperature determinations. This information will be used to produce a requirements specification for a freeze protection DSS.
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