Alarm fatigue is a critical safety issue, as it can increase workload and impair operators' situational awareness. This paper proposes a design methodology to enhance the interaction between alarm systems and operators. Through input from VTS personnel as the fundamental design requirements, a user requirement-driven design framework is proposed. It integrates quality function deployment, the theory of inventive problem solving, and software quality characteristics into three design phases. In Phase I, user requirements are obtained from the analysis of current working processes. Phase II investigates the specific non-functional design requirements of vessel alarm systems and the contradictions. In Phase III, the innovative principles generated with the contradiction matrix were analysed. A case study was conducted to verify and illustrate this framework, resulting in a conceptualisation design of a smart vessel alarm system.