Human Factors

6 June 2017

The terms “human factors” and “Ergonomics” have only been widely known in recent times: the field’s origin is in the design and use of aircraft during World War II to improve aviation safety. It was in reference to the psychologists and physiologists orking at that time and the work that they were doing that the terms “applied psychology”, “applied psychologist” and “ergonomics” were first coined.

Other terms used to describe the discipline and their related professions are; Human Factors > Human Factors Practitioner Ergonomics > Ergonomist Human Factors Engineering > Human Factors Engineer Sub-disciplines or specialisations within this field include; Cognitive Ergonomics > Cognitive Engineer Usability > Usability Engineer – Usability Professional Human Computer / Human Machine Interaction > HCI Engineer User Experience > User Experience Engineer This is not an exhaustive list and new terms are being generated all the time. For instance “User Trial Engineer” may refer to a HF professional that specialises in user trials.

Human Factors Essay Example

Although the names change HF professionals share a underlying vision (see “the Human Factors Communitys Vision”) that through the application of HF the design of equipment, systems and working methods will be improved and therefore have a direct effect (for the better) on people’s lives. Human factors practitioners can come from a variety of backgrounds; though predominantly they are Psychologists (Cognitive, Perceptual, and Experimental) and physiologists. Designers (Industrial, Interaction, and Graphic), Anthropologists, Technical communication Scholars and Computer Scientists also contribute.

Though some practitioners enter the field of Human Factors from other disciplines, both M. S. and Ph. D. degrees in Human Factors Engineering are available from several universities worldwide. [edit] Human Factors Science “Human Factors” are sets of human-specific physical, mental and behavioral properties which either may interact in a critical or dangerous manner with technological systems, human natural environment and human organizations, or they an be taken under consideration in the design of ergonomic human-user oriented equipments.

Interface design is constrained by conservative forces, such as the expectations of users of existing systems in the installed base and emerging de facto or formal standards. At the same time, human factors involvement with a particular product may ultimately have its greatest impact n future product releases. In this paper we explore an expanded time line for influencing product design. This time line brings middle- and upper-management concerns into focus, revealing critical opportunities for effectively positioning and applying human factors resources. Skills needed by user-centered design practitioners in real software development environments: User-centered design (UCD) of human-computer interfaces–including task flow and documentation—is gaining acceptance in software development organizations.

But managers who want their organizations to start using UCD often o not know what characteristics to look for, in candidates for hiring or retraining to fill IJCD roles; this article can help. It has the recommendations from participants in a CHI ’92 conference workshop on this topic. The 16 workshop participants were UCD practitioners and managers from companies and a few universities across the United States, Canada, and Sweden. This article first describes some typical roles of IJCD practitioners in software development organizations. There follows a list of attributes that IJCD practitioners should have. Some attributes should be had by all practitioners, regardless of their subspecialties.

The most important of those universal attributes are of three types: knowledge that can be acquired formally (e. g. , of the human-computer interaction literature, cognitive processes, experimental design, rapid prototyping), skill that can be gotten from experience (e. g. , estimating resources needed to do a Job, commitment to users, understanding of the software development process, negotiating ability, enjoyment of working on teams, ability to really listen), and attributes that are harder to acquire (e. g. , tenacity, flexibility). Every practitioner needs other characteristics as well, but their importances differ by the ractitioners’ subspecialties (e. g. , a design team leader needs team management skills).

A method for (recruiting) methods: facilitating human factors input to system design The paper proposes that some current problems in recruiting human factors methods to system design might be alleviated by means of a structured human factors design framework. The explicit stage-wise design scope of such a framework would support the assignment of appropriate human factors methods to specific system design needs. As an illustration, the design framework of an in-house structured human factors methodology is reviewed followed by the assignment of a et of existing human factors methods against its design stages. Subsequent steps to develop the assigned methods into a similar methodology are then described. The potential of such a methodology for facilitating human factors input is discussed.

Human factors and software reuse: the manager’s impact While some of software engineering’s basic assumptions seem intuitive, the need tor scientific experimentation remains clear. Empirical validation is the hallmark of a mature scientific or engineering discipline. However, little precise experimentation is performed in computer science, especially in the area of software engineering. Several assumptions are made about the factors affecting software reuse, specifically concerning the role of human factors such as managerial influence. This paper describes the results of a controlled experiment designed to evaluate the impact of human factors on software reuse.

The experiment concludes that (1) software reuse promotes higher productivity than no reuse, (2) reuse resulting from both moderate and strong encouragement promote higher productivity than no reuse, and (3) while strong managerial encouragement did not create a significant difference in productivity, it does tend to promote improper reuse activities. Integrating human factors and software development Approaches to integrating human factors or user interface knowledge and expertise with software development are still exploratory and evolving. The human-computer interface provides a broader range of user interface challenges than earlier technology, but human factors is only now starting to be widely recognized as a distinct discipline requiring integration with system development.

Devoting human and computer resources to user interface enhancement has been considered a luxury, and in many places still is, but the falling cost of computational power and the growing user resistance to poor nterfaces, as well as a rising need for product differentiation in the marketplace, insure that human factors will become a necessity where it has not already. The need to develop organizational approaches to support the integration of human factors or user interface expertise with product development is thus a relatively new concern. The integration problems that have been identified include some that are shared with more established support activities such as technical writing, and others that are particular to human factors or result from the relative unfamiliarity of the discipline.

Approaches that have been taken to managing human factors resources in order to maximize influence on user interface development include: hiring human factors engineers or psychologists directly into development teams, concentrating human factors engineers in a support organization, making use of external consultants with user interface knowledge, placing a development group under the leadership of a human factors professional, and forming an educational center in which software engineers learn about human factors approaches. Below, each panelist focuses on the advantages of one particular approach. Papers on software ngineering education and training: process and methodology: Empowering software engineers in human-centered design Usability is about to become the quality measure of today’s interactive software including Web sites, and mobile appliances. User-centered design approach emerges from this need for developing more usable products. However, interactive systems are still designed and tested by software and computer engineers unfamiliar with UCD and the related usability engineering techniques.

While most software developers may have been exposed with basic concepts such as GUI design guidelines, few developers are able to understand the uman/user-centered design (UCD) toolbox at a level that allows them to incorporate it into the software development lifecycle. This paper describes an approach skilling developers and students enrolled in an engineering program in critical user- centered design techniques and tools. The proposed approach starts from the analysis of the usability and software engineer’s work context, identifies critical IJCD skills and then associates relevant learning resources with each of the identified skills. Our approach suggests a list of patterns for facilitating the integration the UCD skills into the software engineering lifecycle

Human and Social Factors of Software Engineering (HSSE): A qualitative empirical evaluation of design decisions In this paper, we motivate examining software design decision making and provide the process by which the examination will occur. The objective is to provide qualitative results indicative of rational or naturalistic software design decision making. In a rational decision a decision maker evaluates decision alternatives and potential outcomes for each alternative using a utility function and probabilities of the outcome of each alternative. The utility function assigns a value to each possible alternative based on its outcome. The goal of rational decision making is selecting the optimal alternative.

A naturalistic decision manifests itself in dynamic and continually changing conditions, embodies real-time reactions to these changes, embraces ill-defined tasks, and has a goal of selecting a satisfactory alternative. The proposed empirical qualitative study consists of inductive and deductive interviewing and deductive observations. Human factors training and awareness Transferring human factors technology to designers involves complex issues: training, human factors data, interdisciplinary communications, designers’ references, and organizational trends. Training is a structured, formalized method for improving human factors technology transfer.

Some of these formal approaches in academia and industry are explored, and recommendations for a systematic approach to training development and evaluation are offered. Human and Social Factors of Software Engineering (HSSE): Applying small group theory to analysis and design of CSCW systems This paper introduces a social psychological theory Small Groups as Complex Systems as a contribution to software engineering and more specifically, design of CSCW systems. Small Group Theory is composed of local dynamics which model the internal view of a group; global dynamics that represent whole group emergent properties; and contextual dynamics that model the influences of the group’s environment on its composition, coherence and behaviour.

The potential contribution of Small Group Theory to the design of CSCW systems is investigated by model-based analysis of group members, supporting technology, and design principles motivated by the theory. Inter disciplinary approaches to the design of dependable computer systems: Lessons from industrial design for software engineering through constraints identification, olution space optimisation and reuse Design is a complex activity that can be analysed from a wide variety of perspectives. This paper attempts to look at the individual problem solving process, taking into account psychological arguments. We characterise some of the phases involved in the design process, namely the constraints identification, the optimisation of solution space and the reuse process.

We highlight a three-dimensional tramework ot now the constraints identification impacts on the solution space which, in turn, determines the range of the components that will be eligible for reuse. We discuss this argument through examples from both inside and outside the software engineering field. Human and Social Factors of Software Engineering (HSSE): A communication architecture from rapid prototyping Communication issues can become a progress-impeding burden to software projects requiring advanced group collaboration. Human and social factors, such as conflicting personalities, educational backgrounds, or different communication styles, play a large part in group communication.

During a recent rapid prototyping project with over 30 collaborators, including software engineers, UI esigners and non-technical customers, we understood that effective and efficient communication would be crucial to the success of our project. The communication architecture that we evolved through the project incorporates human and social factors so that team members with different backgrounds (e. g. , Ul design, software engineering, non-technical) can communicate effectively in an agile development environment. A field study of the software design process for large systems The problems of designing large software systems were studied through interviewing personnel from 17 large projects.

A layered behavioral model is used to analyze how three of these problems”the thin spread of application domain knowledge, fluctuating and conflicting requirements, and communication bottlenecks and breakdowns”affected software productivity and quality through their impact on cognitive, social, and organizational processes. Modeling Design/Coding Factors That Drive Maintainability of Software Systems It is cost-effective for software practitioners to monitor and control quality of software systems from the early phases of development. Assessing and modeling the effects of esign and coding factors on software system maintainability can help provide heuristics to human designers and programmers to reduce maintenance costs and improve quality. This paper presents a study based on intuitive and experimental analyses that use a suite of twenty design/code measures to obtain indications of their effect on maintainability.

This paper lists several important contributions of the work, one of which is the investigation of an unprecedentedly large number of systems (fifty) in a single study. The previous related studies on the other hand, have investigated 2–8 systems. The results reported in this paper using experimental procedures are unique, many of which have not been empirically established in the previous literatures, and are interesting because they are not normally intuitively obvious in most cases. The study also serves to empirically validate those results that seem to be intuitive. The results of the study indicate a number of promising effects of design and coding factors on system maintainability.

The use of the results from the relatively early phases of software development could significantly help practitioners to improve the quality of systems and thus optimize maintenance costs. Extending Design Environments to Software Architecture Design Designing a complex software system is a cognitively challenging task; thus, designers need cognitive support to create good designs. Domain-oriented design environments are cooperative problem-solving systems that support designers in complex design tasks In this paper we present the architecture and facilities of Argo, a domain-oriented design environment for software architecture. Argo’s own architecture is motivated by the desire to achieve reuse and extensibility of the design environment.

It separates domain-neutral code from domain-oriented code, which is distributed mong active design materials as opposed to being centralized in the design environment. Argo’s facilities are motivated by the observed cognitive needs of designers. These facilities extend previous work in design environments by enhancing support for reflection-in-action, and adding new support for opportunistic design and comprehension and problem solving. Designing the Human-Computer Interface There is a growing awareness in the academic and industrial computing communities of the need to introduce human factors considerations into the design of computer systems. At the School of Information and Computer Science of the

Georgia Institute of Technology, this need is being met through a well-funded graduate research program in the human factors of computer systems as well as the introduction of courses that emphasize usability in designing the human-computer interface. The course detailed in this paper has the title “Human-Computer Interface. ” When computerized systems were first developed, and storage capacity was highly limited, the primary concern was the design of an efficient, reliable system which could store data in the most compact manner. Little regard was given to the human element of data entry and retrieval. Although there have been considerable advancements in computer technology, human factors considerations are still lacking. This results in the end user frequently becoming confused or frustrated when trying to interact with the software.

Designing human-computer interfaces for quadriplegic people: The need for participation in an emerging Information Society has led to several research efforts for designing accessibility solutions for disabled people. In this paper we present a method for developing Human-Computer Interfaces (HCls) for quadriplegic people in modern programming environments. The presented method accommodates the esign of scanning interfaces with modern programming tools, leading to flexible interfaces with improved appearance and it is based on the use of specially designed software objects called “wifsids” (Widgets For Single-switch Input Devices). The wifsid structure is demonstrated and 4 types of wifsids are analyzed.

Developed software applications are to be operated by single-switch activations that are captured through the wifsids, with the employment of several modes of the scanning technique. We also demonstrate the “Autonomia” software application, that has been developed according to the specific methodology. The basic snapshots of this application are analyzed, in order to demonstrate how the wifsids cooperate with the scanning process in a user-friendly environment that enables a quadriplegic person to access an ordinary computer system. Human-computer interface considerations in the design of personal computer softwareThis paper examines some aspects of the design considerations of the human-computer interface as related to personal computers.

It is shown that the success of a popular personal computer software product, visiCalc, may be attributed to a thoughtful reconciliation of these design tactors witn the hardware constraints. The trends ot advancement in personal computer software for management-science- engineering problem-solving and decision-making are exemplified by discussing the microcomputer implementation of the Question Answering System on mathematical models and related data bases. Human factors considerations in development of interactive software: When computerized systems were first developed, and storage capacity was highly limited, the primary concern was the design of an efficient, reliable system which could store data in the most compact manner.

Little regard was given to the human element of data entry and retrieval. Although there have been considerable advancements in computer technology, human factors considerations are still lacking. This results in the end user frequently becoming confused or frustrated when trying to interact with the software. Software safety: why, what, and how Software safety issues become important when computers are used to control real-time, safety-critical processes. This survey attempts to explain why there is a problem, what the problem is, and what is known about how to solve it. Since this is a relatively new software research area, emphasis is placed on delineating the outstanding issues and research topics.

Berlin Brain-Computer Interface-The HCI communication channel for discoveryThe investigation of innovative Human-Computer Interfaces (HCI) provides a challenge for future interaction research and development. Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCls) exploit the ability of human communication and control bypassing the classical neuromuscular communication channels. In general, BC’s offer a possibility of communication for people with severe neuromuscular disorders, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or complete paralysis of all extremities due to high spinal cord injury. Beyond medical applications, a BCI conjunction with exciting ultimedia applications, e. g. a dexterity discovery, could define a new level of control possibilities also for healthy customers decoding information directly from the user’s brain, as reflected in EEG signals which are recorded non-invasively from the scalp. This contribution introduces the Berlin Brain-Computer Interface (BBCI) and presents set-ups where the user is provided with intuitive control strategies in plausible interactive bio-feedback applications. Yet at its beginning, BBCI thus adds a new dimension in HCI research by offering the user an additional and independent communication channel based on brain activity only. Successful experiments already yielded inspiring proofs-of-concept.

A diversity of interactive application models, say computer games, and their specific intuitive control strategies are now open for BCI research aiming at a further speed up of user adaptation and increase of learning success and transfer bit rates. BBCI is a complex distributed software system that can be run on several communicating computers responsible for (i) the signal acquisition, (it) the data processing and (iii) the feedback application. Developing a BCI system, special attention must be paid to the design of the feedback application that serves as the HCI unit. This should provide the user with the information about her/his brain activity in a way that is intuitively intelligible. Exciting discovery applications quality pertectly tor this role.

However, most ot these applications incorporate control strategies that are developed especially for the control with haptic devices, e. g. , Joystick, keyboard or mouse. Therefore, novel control strategies should be developed for this purpose that (i) allow the user to incorporate additional information for the control of animated objects and (it) do not frustrate the user in the case of a misclassification of the decoded brain signal. BC’s are able to decode different information types from the user’s brain activity, such as sensory perception or motor intentions and imaginations, movement preparations, levels of stress, workload or task-related idling.

All of these diverse brain signals can be incorporated in an exciting discovery scenario. Modern HCI research and development technologies can provide BCI researchers with the know-how about interactive feedback applications and corresponding control strategies. A virtual logo keyboard for people with motor disabilities In our society, people with motor impairments are ften times socially excluded from their environment. This is unfortunate because every human being should have the possibility to obtain the necessary conditions to live a normal life. Although there is technology to assist people with motor impairments, few systems are targeted for programming environments.

We have created a system, called Logo Keyboard,to assist people with motor disabilities to program with the Logo programming language. With this special keyboard we can help more people to get involved into computer programming and to develop projects in different areas. Mixing oil and water: transcending method boundaries in ssistive technology for traumatic brain injuryA prototype assistive technology for traumatic brain injury has been developed using a combination of formative experiments and contextual design. Both approaches have proved to be essential to the development of a simple communication program using a brain-body interface device.

We describe the combination of these methods and their separate and Joint contributions to the evolution and evaluation of an assistive technology. Our experience suggests that failure to use either research method in assistive technology development would result in critical oversights in design and evaluation. An overview of programs and projects at the rehabilitation research and development center The mission of the Rehabilitation Research and Development Center is to improve the independence and quality of life for disabled veterans through the creation and application of emerging technologies. In support of this mission, the Center develops concepts, devices, and techniques for in-house testing, national evaluation, and technology transfer leading to commercial production.

This presentation will detail the Center’s design/development process and technology transfer strategies using examples drawn from its fifteen years of operation. Efficient eye pointing with a fisheye lensThis paper evaluates refinements to existing eye pointing techniques involving a fisheye lens. We use a fisheye lens and a video-based eye tracker to locally magnify the display at the point of the user’s gaze. Our gaze- contingent fisheye facilitates eye pointing and selection of magnified (expanded) targets. Two novel interaction techniques are evaluated for managing the fisheye, both dependent on real-time analysis of the user’s eye movements. Unlike previous attempts at gaze-contingent fisheye control, our key innovation is to hide the fisheye

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