Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Thursday, June 24, 2004

I Want To Be A Cognitive Ergonomist

"Ergonomics is sometimes described as "fitting the system to the human," meaning that through informed decisions; equipment, tools, environments and tasks can be selected and designed to fit unique human abilities and limitations. Typical examples in the "physical ergonomics" arena include designing a lifting job to occur at or near waist height, selecting a tool shape that reduces awkward postures, and reducing unnecessary tasks and movements to increase production or reduce errors and waste. "Cognitive ergonomics," on the other hand, focuses on the fit between human cognitive abilities and limitations and the machine, task, environment, etc. Example cognitive ergonomics applications include designing a software interface to be "easy to use," designing a sign so that the majority of people will understand and act in the intended manner, designing an airplane cockpit or nuclear power plant control system so that the operators will not make catastrophic errors. Cognitive ergonomics is especially important in the design of complex, high-tech, or automated systems. A poorly designed cellular phone user-interface may not cause an accident, but it may well cause great frustration on the part of the consumer and result in a marketplace driven business failure." If there is one role that is badly needed in the Web conferencing and online collaboration industries is indeed the one of the cognitive ergonomist. While until now companies in these fields could get away with "neat" interfaces, the fast growing number of new, small, capable competitors is forcing the best to innovate and take up this fascinating challenge. Here is a good reference article (2001) to those new to the field.



Peter Budnick and Rachel Michael -
Reference: [via Information Design] [ Read more ]
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posted by Robin Good on Thursday, June 24 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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