Category Archives: Occupational Ergonomics

We Work Office Space

Presumptive Design

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As a self-professed codger, curmudgeon, and contrarian, I am increasingly disturbed that so many “designed solutions” of built environments have very little to do with design thinking, understanding users’ requirements, or meeting a specific goal. They are mostly just presumptive designs. By that I mean, the design meets a single or set of underlying assumption(s) most often based on rather tenuous logic.

Presumptive design has dominated approaches to workplaces for more than a decade, resulting in so-called designed solutions that include smaller and smaller individual space, more openness, and less enclosure. In truth, this meets one primary goal: reducing the cost per occupant of these workplaces.

princess bride

You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

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One of my all time favorite films – Rob Reiner’s timeless Princess Bride (1987) – has many memorable lines. One of my favorites is the title of this blog post. The group’s leader, Vizzini (Played by Wallace Shawn) is a the self proclaimed ‘brilliant’ Sicilian. He keeps exclaiming “inconceivable” whenever something happens that he didn’t expect. Finally master swordsman Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) says “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.” The same thing can be said of many descriptions of consumer products as “ergonomic.”

Lying Chair

Lying Desk

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If you like to slouch when you work, this product may be the perfect match for you. Instead of preaching to employees to maintain good posture when working, perhaps it is about time to throw in the towel and design a workstation to match what people are going to do anyway. Isn’t that really what user-centered design is all about? While the standing desk has become a staple in homes and offices, this ergonomic revolution hasn’t given us an acceptable way to recline flat and…

Seating Area at the Edge offices

The Most Intelligent Building in the World

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We have covered the idea of a smart workplace a few times on EID (for example here and here, but it seems there is always a new innovation around the corner that is far enough advanced to be worth revisiting the topic. The next example in this series is The Edge, Deloitte’s Amsterdam headquarters.

It knows where you live. It knows what car you drive. It knows who you’re meeting with today and how much sugar you take in your coffee. (At least it will, after the next software update.) This is the Edge, and it’s quite possibly the smartest office space ever constructed.

UX Day 2015 Flyer

User Experience (UX) Leadership Development Workshop

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Today we will have a guest post from the content manager and University of Florida PhD Student France Jackson. We are continuing the discussion around HFES 2015. During UX Day at the annual meeting, I was honored to be a participant in the UX Leadership Development Workshop. Today, I want to do a guest post and share my experience. Prior to the event, participants were informed that there three theme areas we would be discussing at the workshop and to prepare our thoughts and talking…

Man in chair with headrest

Bring Your Own Headrest

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We are all familiar with the workarounds that people use to improve the ergonomics of their spaces. At work we have footrests made out of books, boxes, and other random objects. The biggest loss of the smartphone era is that we have no phonebooks to raise our kids up to the dining room table. Back supports rummaged from garage sale couch cushions. These are great indications that the original design is lacking and a fantastic source of ideas for how to improve the design.

female soldier

Women in Combat Duty

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I heard this story on NPR and had flashbacks to a similar debate we had decades ago with firefighters. And as with that debate, it frustrated me into a lather just as much now as it did then.

“Some people look at it as a civil rights issue,” says Dober. “I will tell you emphatically and to my grave that it’s not a civil rights issue. It’s a national security issue.”

Actually, it’s both.

Business Calendar

Time Management with a Creative Twist

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Timeful is a time management app that has recently been acquired by Google. What sets Timeful apart (depending of course on what Google does with them) from the dozens of other time management apps in the mobileverse is that it recognizes that we never seem to get around to those activities that we want to do but can’t fit into our schedules. For some of us, that might be some personal time with the family. For others it is time to exercise. There are many possibilities. But where do we put it?

Timeful allows you to list these activities and have the app recommend one when there is enough of a gap in your formal schedule to squeeze it in. I learned about this from Monica Joshi at BigThink. Whenever an hour of free time turns up, Timeful will suggest squeezing in that workout. A similar function allows the user to add in recommended breaks whenever the user is doing one activity for an extended amount of time. This could be a mental break when the user is mentally fatigued or a walk around the office when the user has been sitting for too long.

home office

How ‘macro’ is Macro?

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Note from the Editor: We are pleased to have the first guest post from the site manager – France Jackson. I don’t expect it will be the last, so please give her a warm welcome as you post your comments.

We have done a series of articles centered around the workplace environment. There have been numerous pieces on standing desks, leaning workstations and a modern collaborative space. But with many companies shifting to mobile workers and telecommuting, the home has become the workplace for many Americans. According to Green Biz, companies can save up to $10,000 per employee a year by having workers telecommute. A recent article by Fast Company highlights the homes of some of the “top creatives from around the world”. The article mentions how creative offices spaces are designed to inspire, but inspiration starts at home.