Ergonomics Today

November 4, 2013

Webinar: Making the Case for Ergonomics and Where It Stands in Mobile Technology

Register for the complimentary webinar Making the Case for Ergonomics and Where It Stands in Mobile Technology and hear from experts with years of industry and research experience. Join valuable discussions of the […]
November 27, 2012

A Brief, Incomplete, Possibly Inaccurate History of Ergonomics … or Human Factors

In a broad sense, ergonomics is as old as humankind, or at least some point long ago in human history. Many trace its origins to that day when the first human realized that a sharp rock or a pointy stick was useful as a tool. Whoever it was, whenever it was, found a way to improve upon human capabilities by creating a tool. Peter Budnick traces those humble beginnings forward, highlighting key developments through history that have lead to what we recognize today as Ergonomics ... or Human Factors ... or whatever it is we do ... or whatever it is we call it ...
November 14, 2012

Revisiting the Roots of Ergonomics

In 1857 -- over 150 years ago -- a Polish scholar named Wojciech Jastrzebowski coined the word "ergonomics". Have we made any progress since? In this fun and interesting reprint from the September 2002 edition of the Ergonomics Report, we ask, "You be the judge".
November 14, 2012

Get Big Ergo Ideas at the Applied Ergonomics Conference 2013

Join us March 18-21 in Dallas for one of the most highly anticipated ergonomics and human factors events of the year. It
November 7, 2012

Revisiting The Infamous Hawthorne Effect

Peter Budnick reviews a fascinating article describing and analyzing newly rediscovered archives from the original Hawthorne experiments that took place in the late 1920's. The experiments were intended to demonstrate that better lighting would improve industrial productivity, but a variety of factors produced unexpected results, and the original data was thought to be destroyed in the aftermath. The so called Hawthorne Effect has been a subject of debate and speculation ever since and has influenced scientific methods and the fields of psychology, education, social sciences -- and ergonomics. Cornell researchers Izawa, French and Hedge share their findings.
November 1, 2012

Towards a Credible Ergonomics Certification for Products and Processes: PART 1 (Reprint)

There's been a lot of talk lately about ergonomic product certification, and Peter Budnick takes readers on a tour of the topic, drawing from work he's done on the question over the last 10-15 years. In this article, Part 1 in a series, he shares insightful video of interviews he conducted with consumers on the questions of "what does ergonomics mean" and "what would an 'ergonomically designed' label mean to you?" He also shares examples of how other industries have developed certifications, why industries need credible certification systems, and how that might come about for the field of ergonomics.
October 31, 2012

It’s Time to Put an End to Abusive Design

Ergoweb's Peter Budnick shares his anger with what he sees as "abusive design," using the incomprehensible interface of an AT&T telephone his aging parents purchased as an example. Quoting Jack Rebney, a man described as "The Angriest Man in the World," he launches his controlled tirade with the phrase "I wonder how you're going to feel about this when you're [swear word deleted] 80 years old." He describes the conditions under which abusive designs make it to market, as well as the conditions that lead to usable customer-centered designs by drawing parallels with Lean organizational methods, and closes with an open-ended call for change.
October 18, 2012

Big, Tall, Short, Small: What’s a Designer to Do? (Reprint)

Designers are often frustrated by humans. It sounds funny, because nearly all designs are destined to be used -- or misused -- by people, but it's true. Designing something to accommodate for the wide variety of human sizes and shapes can be so frustrating that many designers simply neglect to do it. Some neglect to accommodate intentionally, others try, yet make mistakes in the process, and still others neglect it out of pure ignorance.
October 17, 2012

New Anthropometry Study of Truck Drivers Will Improve Cab Design and Road Safety

A recent research article summarizing a study designed to update the anthropometry data for US based truck drivers reveals some interesting statistics about truck driver size and safety, and also brings to light the fact that ergonomists and designers often don't have accurate data, even if such data is critical to a design outcome. In this article Peter Budnick reviews the study and also shares some thoughts on the importance of human-centered design, up-to-date anthropometry data, as well as new developments in the way it is used to create more accommodating designs.
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