Tag Archives: 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…

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.

leaning workplace

Leaning Workplace

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I don’t know about you, but I find this to be incredible intriguing. I am not ready to say yet whether I think it would actually work, but it is certainly thought-provoking and a great topic for this week’s “Thought-Provoking Thursday.”

Forget standing desks. In the office of the future, you might lean instead—supported by giant rock-like sculptures that designers argue are a healthier, more active way to work than anything that’s come before. A prototype of the office design is now on display in Amsterdam.

ergo-X banner

ERGO-X Conference of Champions

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As most of you probably already know, the EID site is part of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society’s family of services. We strive to cover as many dimensions of HF/E as we can in our limited space and time. That is one of the reasons we had our open forum day and we will do that again. It is also why we point out great HFES events such as UX Day. Today we are happy share another one of these great events, the ERGO-X Conference (link to https://www.hfes.org/Web/HFESMeetings/ergoX.html).

At ErgoX, world-class leaders in the ergonomics field will translate the latest scientific findings and best practices into effective information, procedures, tools, and approaches you can use to improve your work safety and wellness outcomes – all in a unique, user-friendly, and intimate setting.

a room full of airplane seats

Custom Airplane Seating

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Fast Company had an article last month that triggered an idea. The original talks about adjustable seating in airplanes that could be more customized than what we have now. They would be set on tracks in the floor so they could move back and forth. When you reserve your seat, you input how much legroom you want so when you get on the plane it is adjusted accordingly…

a large office of cubicles

Guest Post: Ergonomics: Essential Component of Organizational Psychology

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As startups, and business-people in general, one of our greatest assets is our staff. It is our responsibility to care for their health, well-being, and happiness. Industrial and organizational psychology, I-O Psychology, can further that goal. I-O psychology focuses on increasing workplace productivity and health, both physical and mental, of employees. Granted, productivity and employee’s well-being encompass many factors (i.e., organizational structures, leadership ability and training, personnel psychology, and many more), but proper ergonomics in an organization can have positive effects on our staff’s vitality as well as their work effectiveness. Embracing proper ergonomics in the workplace should be a fundamental part of organizational psychology assessments and plans…

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”…

lots of clothing hangers

Simple but Clever and Effective: True Ergonomics

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This design caught my eye for so many reasons. The designer has a real user pain point that he wants to ease.

Maximizing space in a small closet requires a MacGyver-like resourcefulness. Luckily, the meccas of home organization (The Container Store, Bed Bath and Beyond) carry myriad tools for squeezing storage space out of every square inch. But when it comes to making clothes hangers more efficient, things get clumsy: Tiered clothes hangers, the ones meant for vertically stacking several pairs of pants, tend to be unwieldy, need to hook into place, and can’t accommodate shirts…