Human Factors

The terms “human factors” (HF) and “ergonomics” are branches of the applied sciences utilized by Industrial Designers to provide scale, proportion and user insight into interfacing with products, vehicles, machines and machines that make products. Human factors involves the study of all aspects of the way humans relate to and interact with the world including mechanical systems and products both large and small around them, with the aim of improving operational performance, safety, usability and comfort, in the experience of the end user. Ergonomics is the use of human factors to optimize how companies design environments and works to maximize the efficiency and quality of their employees’ work. Human factors and ergonomics have reference to the psychologists and physiologists working with organizations using disciplines such as Anthropometry, Applied Psychology, Ergonomics, Human Factors Science, Ergonomics & Human Factors Engineering and Human Factors Integration)

Anthropometrics or anthropometry is the literal (Greek) for the “measurement of humans”, physical anthropology, refers to the measurement of individuals for the purposes of understanding physical variation. Anthropometry plays an important role in industrial design, human factors and ergonomics (work applications), architecture and apparel. Global, regional, political, economic social and personal environments including age progression and changes in life styles, markets, nutrition and ethnic composition of populations lead to changes in the distribution of body dimensions (obesity), require constant updating of anthropometric data and it’s applications to product development. Understanding the trends and macro and micro dynamics of human factors, ergonomics and specific product markets and user interfaces are critical to mass production.

Areas of human factors and user-product interface services may include: both personal and commercial product development including ergonomic issues such as product training, communication analyses, task analyses, functional requirements analyses and schematic layout, task allocations, task descriptions and functions, procedures and procedure use, learning curve, and abilities;

Human Factors objectives include:

Lower user risk
User-friendly – Universal Design
Avoid the need for expensive redesign
Compliant with industry standards
Lowest possible training requirement – early adoption
Use of semantics – form / user controls

Photo above “Development of a Powered Air Purifying Respirator for the Healthcare Environment” Prepared by Mr. Willis Whiteside AWARD: BRONZE  Industrial Design Excellence Award

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