Category Archives: System Development

man drawing procedure diagram

Procedures

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Back in the days when I was active in IIE, I used to talk to Kevin McManus all the time. These days, it is all I can do to follow his great articles on Linked In Pulse. I want to share his latest one on procedures. Kevin shares some of the history of procedures and how they have evolved over the decades. My Take In my experience, we have a love/hate relationship with procedures. We recognize that they have major benefits. They help us standardize…

group of people talking

Team Thinking Types

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There are many roles that we may serve on a work team. There is the team leader of course. This is often the only one formally assigned. There also might be the project manager who keeps track of schedules and action items. There also might be a team historian who is in charge of bringing up the past – what has worked, what has failed, what was decided, what was rejected, and so on.

We therefore propose that just as team members today have assigned doing roles, there should also be thinking roles. By knowing how other members of your team and organization think — and by others knowing how you think — everyone can be more energized, more engaged, more creative, and more productive.

Fireworks

One Year Anniversary

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In honor of the one year anniversary of EID’s relaunch (check out our first post ever here) under our new format, we thought we would copy an innovative technique used by Ta-Nehisi Coates. In addition to being a brilliant, award winning writer, he is also credited for having one of the best comment management strategies for his blog at The Atlantic magazine. One dimension of his strategy, which seems obvious on the surface but is incredibly rare, is to start with the assumption that some…

a small computing device clipped to a pocket to track movement

Fitbits for People with Multiple Sclerosis

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I have written before about wearables. They are a nice toy, but in general they don’t really do anything particularly useful, at least not with the current technology. This week, I read about a great application in health care, and I think it works.

Drugmaker Biogen Idec is exploring ways to use fitness trackers to gather data from people who suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.

a car crash

Modeling Driver Steering

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This research is not quite ready for the market, but has a lot of potential to improve driver safety.

The ability to predict what a driver is going to do in the near future and to be able to prepare the car’s system for this sounds a little bit like science fiction, and it would naturally be a dream come true for the safety departments at car manufacturers. The dream is now one step closer to becoming reality…

a woman carving a turkey with a child looking on

Bring Some HF/E to Your Thanksgiving Meal

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In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I would provide some warnings about the risks you may want to watch out for as you celebrate the holiday. Since it is a holiday post, I didn’t feel obligated to check for hard statistics on any of these. I am pretty sure that these are well established risks on Thanksgiving…

a stack of engineering papers

Design Principles Over Standards

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Principles are better than standards in UX design, according to this article by Peter Hornsby at UX Matters.

For a long time, I’ve been an advocate of creating standards, guidelines, and patterns as a way of achieving design consistency within a large organization. While these do offer significant benefits, they also introduce a number of problems into the design process…

the google logo

Google Alerts

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I received an email from Lois at HFES headquarters (if you don’t know her, she is one the pillars that makes our Society run), with an intriguing factoid that I thought was a good topic for discussion. We (the HF/E community) are always debating whether there is a difference between human factors and ergonomics and explaining this to our colleagues and friends. Every time I testify, I inevitably get asked the question. Of course, it is just a question of semantics. You can define the two words however you want. You can make them different, overlapping, or identical. But what you think internally isn’t really what is important because we all practice in a real world with preconceived ideas and schema about both “human factors” and “ergonomics”…

a happy looking woman looking at her iphone

Delight: The Third Generation of HF

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Every once in a while, it is important to look back and take stock of where we have been. It is a critical part of understanding where we are now and predicting where we are going. This article from UX Magazine doesn’t go into the history, but it got me thinking along these lines.

Naturally, the chosen moniker of “Experiences” jumped out at us. UX practitioners have known for years what a lynchpin experience design is in the success and proliferation of a product or service, and the business world seems to be taking giant steps that affirm the importance of experience…

many old cars parked in front of meters

The Ethics of Performance versus Principle

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This is another metric tradeoff that is of great interest to me, both professionally and philosophically. What do you do when your design process is faced with a tradeoff between two options: one that will work better but violates a principle that you think is important (but is not formally illegal or unethical) and one that works less well but has no such violations? This is top of mind with me this morning because of a debate we are having in Boston about P2P parking apps like Haystack. If you are unfamiliar with these apps, they allow someone who is leaving a parking spot to announce it on the app network and someone looking for a spot can grab it, for a fee of course.