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Human Factors Issues. Chapter 8. What is Human Factors?. Application of the scientific knowledge of human capabilities and limitations to the design of systems and equipment to produce products with the most efficient, safe, effective, and reliable operation. Human Factors. Interface points

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what is human factors
What is Human Factors?
  • Application of the scientific knowledge of human capabilities and limitations to the design of systems and equipment to produce products with the most efficient, safe, effective, and reliable operation
human factors
Human Factors
  • Interface points
  • Environment
  • Skill level of user
  • Interaction between:
    • Human element
    • Hardware element
    • Software element

Refrigerator Example

human element
Human Element
  • Memory
    • Long term
    • Short term
  • Thinking and reasoning
  • Visual perception
  • Dialogue construction
  • Individual skill level
  • Individual sophistication



Location of controls

Possible user training

Compatibility with other equipment

Hardware Element

Control knobs/switches

Potential need for portability

Display area


Simple, reliable data entry

Displays must not be overcrowded

Software Element

Feedback to users

Menu driven

Dialogue must be jargon-free

human factors process
Human Factors Process
  • Analytic process that focuses on device objectives
  • Design and development process that converts results of analyses into detailed equipment features
  • Test and evaluation process which verifies that development process satisfies constraints
steps in human factors process
Steps in Human Factors Process
  • Planning
  • Analysis
  • Conduct user studies
    • Observations
    • Interviews
    • Focus groups
    • Task analysis
    • Benchmark usability tests
    • User profile
    • Setup advisory panel

Crucial Pieces of Human Factors Process

  • Should reflect system and personnel safety factors
  • Failures
    • Fail safe
    • Failure indications
  • Standards- ANSI, AAMI, ISO
  • Written to meet needs of various target populations
  • Study capability and information needs of documentation users
    • Mental abilities
    • Physical abilities
    • Previous experience
    • Understanding of general operation
    • Special needs of environment

Attempt to avoid this!

  • Science of measuring human body and its parts and functional capacities
  • Range of values: 5th percentile female to 95th percentile male
  • Functional dimensions
  • Psychological elements
  • Workstation design considerations
  • Labels should be clear and direct
  • Controls, displays, and other equipment that must be located should be clearly marked
  • Receptacles and connectors should be marked with intended function or connection
  • Hazard warnings should be prominent
  • Every user input should consistently produce some perceptible response from the computer
  • Log-on should be automatically completed before any operation
  • Allow for orderly shutdown in case of failure
data entry
Data Entry
  • Consistent data entry transactions
  • Minimize user input actions
  • Feedback to user about acceptance or rejection of an entry
  • Ability to change entry after it has been added
  • Present status, information, confirmation, and verification throughout the interaction
  • Standby should be accompanied by ‘WAIT’ message
  • Feedback should be self-explanatory
  • Commands, error messages, system capabilities, and procedures should be explained with prompts or help instructions
  • Missing data/aborting changes should be prompted
  • Factual and informative dialogue
  • Displayed in standardized area
  • Currently defined default values should be provides and automatically displayed
  • User should be prompted for acceptance of defaults
  • Users should be able to set their own default