Ergonomic analysis of the c ornell l ibrary c ollaborative l earning c omputer l aboratory
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Ergonomic Analysis of the C ornell L ibrary C ollaborative L earning C omputer L aboratory Project conducted by DEA 470 (Ian Colahan; Iris Dulay; Jessica Elias; Yachen Hwang; Kaori Ito; Jennifer Kim; Erin Lawler; Chiu Wah Jodi Lee; Elizabeth Popolo, Xin Wang)

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Ergonomic analysis of the c ornell l ibrary c ollaborative l earning c omputer l aboratory l.jpg

Ergonomic Analysis of theCornell Library Collaborative Learning Computer Laboratory

Project conducted by DEA 470

(Ian Colahan; Iris Dulay; Jessica Elias; Yachen Hwang; Kaori Ito; Jennifer Kim; Erin Lawler; Chiu Wah Jodi Lee; Elizabeth Popolo, Xin Wang)

Under the supervision of Professor Alan Hedge and Melissa Braun

Spring 2006

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Overview of Presentation:

  • Our three main interests in CL3

    • The physical arrangement and ambient environment as it relates to the intent of CL3

    • The dynamics of collaboration in CL3

    • The preferences of current users in CL3

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Physical Arrangement of CL3

  • Dimensions of the station




2.2 ft


Min: 1.3ft

Max: 1.7ft


Desk height: 2.3ft-2.5ft above the floor 

Chair height: 1.3ft - 1.7ft above the floor 

Leg room: 2.5ft wide by 1.6ft deep by 2.25ft high 

Work area top: 2.5ft by 5ft 

Top of monitor casing 2-3 inches above eye level 

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Physical Arrangement of CL3

  • Various sitting arrangements

    1) Facing forwards and looking at both screens

95% man 5% woman

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Physical Arrangement of CL3

2) Sitting to one side and looking forwards

95% man 5% woman

Top view

Front view

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Physical Arrangement of CL3

3) Sitting to one side and rotate to look at the screens at an angle

95% man 5% woman Monitors angled at 45 degrees

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Survey Results (n=57)

  • Ability to customize work area by moving chairs, tables, and computers

  • How often do you rearrange the computer tables in CL3?

  • Reasons to move table

    • 31.5% Create better working station

    • 28% To improve collaboration

    • 33% Never moved tables

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Survey Results (n=57)

  • If you have never rearranged the tables in CL3 before, why not?

    • 37% I didn’t need to

    • 22% Didn’t know it was allowed

    • 15% Didn’t know it was movable

  • Would you move the table more often if:

    • 30% Fewer wires

    • 29% Easier to plug and unplug wires and cables

    • 19% Signs instructing them to move

      (i.e. How to move tables & re-plug, random positioning of stations)

    • 19% tables were lighter

    • 22% still wouldn’t move

  • How did you find out the tables were movable?

    • 33% Figured it out themselves

    • 17.5% Was told by instructor

    • 17.5% Saw other people move

    • 14% Didn’t know they are movable

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Physical Arrangement of CL3

  • Desk Moving Force Requirement:









Liberty Mutual Manual Table Pushing


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RULA (Rapid Upper Limb Assessment)

Score: 4

Investigate further

Score: 3

Investigate Further

Score: 2(Acceptable)

Score: 6


Further and

Change Soon

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The survey concluded that sound was not a problem or concern for CL3 users.

Sound Level Analysis


Uris Computer Lab

  • Average sound level is higher in the Uris computer lab under all conditions.

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Sound Level Analysis for CL

Unless there is a class, CL3 is relatively quiet. More talking and interaction can be seen in the Uris computer lounge at all times. Possible explanations include its open/bright atmosphere, ability for people to walk through to get to/from the Cocktail Lounge, and to the shape of the computer desks.

CL3 desks: sitting

space closes in

Uris desks: sitting

space open

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Collaboration in CL for CL3

  • Questions to Answer:

    • To what extent do people collaborate in CL3?

    • How does CL3 compare to other collaborative spaces on campus. In this case Uris computer area (The Runway).

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Collaborative Data Gathering Methodology for CL

  • Used a combination of survey questions and observational methods

    • Survey Questions provided easily comparable results and detailed data

    • Observations provided data on the frequency of various types of collaborative actions

    • Data was gathered in CL3 and in the Uris Computer area for comparison

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Survey results for CL

  • Group size ranges from 2 to 9. 66% of those surveyed worked in groups of 2 or 3. 16% of respondents worked alone.

  • 56% spend ‘most of the group time’ in task related conversation.

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Time spent in collaborative activity in CL3 versus other computer labs

46.5% spend a lot of time collaborating in a CL3 class, 13 % in other computer labs

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Survey Analysis computer labs

  • Most people do spend time collaborating while in a class in CL3

  • During group collaborative periods, there was a high level of conversation between members

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Observations of CL computer labs3 verses Uris

  • Looked at the frequency of talking, pointing, keying, and mousing of each member in CL3 and comparison groups in a Uris computer area

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CL3 & Uris observation result computer labs

  • Talking, pointing at screens and papers are counted as interactions

  • Mean number of interactions per minute in CL3 and Uris are similar (5.8 vs. 5.85)

  • Mean coefficient of deviation for the number of interactions in two labs are 8.56% and 5.97% respectively.

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CL computer labs3 & Uris observation result

  • Only 2 groups out of 7 from our observation used both keyboards and mice

  • Dominant use of keyboard and mouse was observed both in CL3 and Uris

  • Usually there are more people in Uris lab.

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Conclusions on Collaboration computer labs

  • Survey data suggest that CL3 has provided an effective place for collaboration

  • Observations suggest that the Uris computer area provides an even better place for collaboration

  • Reasoning: Uris computer area has more natural exchange of information as people walk through the area, there is naturally more noise of conversations being held, and the furniture is more easily arranged

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User Preference in CL computer labs3

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Why People Use the CL computer labs3

We surveyed to find out why people come to use the CL3 lab.

  • The most common responses were:

    • “Because I have to for class.”

    • “The lab is aesthetically pleasing & comfortable.”

    • “I enjoy having the option to use dual monitors, mice and keyboards.”

  • Other reasons included…

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Reasons Why CL computer labs3 Users Have Moved The Workstations

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What Would Facilitate Moving the Workstations in CL computer labs3 More Often?

  • Top Responses:

    • If there were fewer wires to deal with

    • If the workstations were easier to plug & unplug

    • If the workstations were lighter

    • If there were signs suggesting to move the workstations

  • However, 13 respondents said that they simply would not move the workstations.

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Reasons Why People Like CL3 computer labs

  • The dual screen option

  • The mobile furniture

  • The software and hardware available

    • Fast computers

  • The ambient environment

    • Ample space, high ceilings, quiet work environment

  • The whiteboards

  • The availability of electrical outlets

  • The fact that it is a good space for collaboration

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Reasons Why People Dislike CL computer labs3

  • The limited hours

  • The limited table space (for group meetings)

  • The lack of appropriate signage

  • The conflict between users who want talkative collaboration and the users who are not aware that it is a collaborative computing lab (and who want a quiet study environment)

  • The shape of the room

  • The fact that the whiteboards do not erase well

  • The temperamental projector

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Suggestions for Improving CL computer labs3

  • Provide accurate signage concerning:

    • The hours, the equipment available, and the ways to move workstations

  • Provide more information on resources, software and equipment available in CL3

    • Place info cards on the workstations, hang posters, etc.

  • Increase the hours of operation and staffing to accommodate the demand

  • Inform users that this is a collaborative space and not just a typical computer lab

  • Increase the number of workstations or integrate laptop use into the space

  • Improve printing options (i.e. 11” x 17”)

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Thank You computer labs