The cognitive burden imposed on workers is increased. Also, workers have to engage in workarounds to get the job done. Not only that, but these workarounds can lead to errors. And in some cases, the workarounds may be so costly in terms of time and effort that workers may just give in and do what is easy with the interface that they have, rather than what is required to get the job done effectively. As a result, the quality of the work is sacrificed. To avoid these problems, the design of information systems for complex sociotechnical systems should be based on some kind of work analysis. If the work demands are identified and then built into the information system, then many of the problems identified above should be resolved, or at the very least, greatly reduced.
In the second part of the chapter, we argued that work analysis should begin with environment constraints. The value of this perspective was illustrated by contrasting the widely held cognitivist approach with the less prevalent ecological approach. The limitations of the cognitivist approach were illustrated in some detail, showing that it is impotent without ecological compatibility. Nevertheless, both types of constraints need to be considered in work analysis. The approach that we advocated, and that is embedded in the remainder of the book, is to first analyze the constraints imposed by the environment. These constraints must be dealt with if there is to be any hope of achieving effective performance. Analyzing cognitive constraints provides a valuable way of closing the remaining degrees of freedom. This fundamental idea will be developed further in subsequent chapters.