The bridge is the control and communications center of a ship. As such, in modern days it is almost universally situated on the highest-most deck, with a significant amount or combination of glass and open area to provide clear lines of sight.
Modern electronics allows for vast amounts of data collection, instantaneously. Displaying all of it at once could lead to crew overload. Developing problems may be overlooked, or alarms may get lost 'in the noise'. Designers can mitigate overload by integrating control systems and intelligently filtering data for relevance (this can be as simple as a squelch control on a radio or a hood over a radar display).
The bridge is a functional space, continually manned, and most important to the ships operation. HVAC systems need to have increased capacity in this space, as the amount of glass, doors, and volume of traffic tends to be high (more exchanges per hour).
Workflow refers to the patterns of activity of the crew (both individually, and as a whole). Components should be located to produce the most efficient workflow for the ships operational profile. Minimizing distances between co-related components aides workflow, as does separating simultaneous traffic.
The bridge should have clear visual lines to major working machinery (winches and cranes), to all active working decks, and to the surroundings at large. Bridge wings are fitted to particularly wide vessels to help in docking and maneuvering the vessel in port. Stand-by vessels and small tugs often have visor-mounted windows for the observation of overhead rigs (in the case of standby vessels) or while up against another vessels side.
Primary windows should be sloped to reduce reflection and glare. Runoff from the wheelhouse top should be directed away from the windows, either by collection or by an overhanging visor.