Ergonomics, also known as Human Factors, is concerned with studying how humans interact with products. It is the science of matching the product to the user. Ergonomics applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall product performance. The course teaches students to get ergonomic information such as what the customers see and reach, how comfortable they are, when and why they’re getting hurt, when they’re getting tired, and so on.

A product has different stages of use, including:
• building the product
• using the product
• maintaining/repairing the product.

Both patients and nurses “use” a hospital bed, but each has their own specific needs during use. A product may fit user needs for one stage quite well, but not fit users in other stages. Examining a product in one context would result in concluding that it is an ergonomic product, while looking at other contexts would provide very different conclusions. A truly ergonomic product considers the user needs at each stage.



In this course, the participants will be :

  1. Describing the product design process from a human factors perspective
  2. Knowing the general principles of human-system design
  • Analyzing end users, human tasks, and environments of use
  1. Differentiating among options for information displays and controls
  2. Sketching usable and useful concept designs for specific products
  3. Soliciting feedback from users of complex systems
  • Designing workspaces optimized for people who will work or play in them
  • Assessing environmental factors such as light and noise, and their influence on design
  1. Justifying both maintenance and operation tasks



1. Design for product safety

  1. Lives and dollars are at stake
  2. Importance of human factors
  3. Why it is not common sense?
  4. Human factors (HF) engineering and human-centered design process


2. Human-system interface and interaction

  1. System, function, and task analysis


3. Ergonomics of packaging


4. Workplace and environment

  1. Room or workplace configuration
  2. Environmental factors
  3. Temperature and humidity
  4. Ventilation
  5. Illumination and emergency lighting
  6. Auditory environment
  7. Accessibility
  8. Vibration


5. Workstations and cockpits

  1. Anthropometrics (anthropometry measures physical aspects of the human body for use in design)
  2. Workstation configuration
  3. Stand-up
  4. Sit-down
  5. Desks or workstations and chairs or seats


6. Control-display integration

  1. Analog and digital
  2. Control and display device layout
  3. Stimulus and response compatibility
  4. Labeling and demarcations


7. Displays

  1. Design principles
  2. Selection of type of display
  3. Detailed design


8. Controls

  1. Design principles
  2. Affordance and population stereotypes
  3. Selection of type of control
  4. Detailed design


9: Alarms and feedback

  1. Safety monitoring
  2. Status and error messages


10: Checklists, documentation, and training

  1. When to make a design change vs. when to use procedures or training?
  2. Usability of checklists and documentation
  3. Instructional systems development


11: Maintainability

  1. The often forgotten persona of maintainer
  2. Task analysis of maintenance activities
  3. Task flow engineering and form factor for maintenance


12: Test and Evaluation

  1. Quantification of Human Performance
  2. Product Testing & Competitive Product Bench-marking
  3. Ergonomic Product Certification
  4. User Experience and Interface Analysis
  5. Validation of product claims
  6. Human Productivity Testing


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Product Design with Ergonomics