Human Factors

Topics: Software engineering, Software development process, Computer Pages: 16 (5114 words) Published: December 5, 2013

[edit] Introduction
Simply put, human factors involves the study of all aspects of the way humans relate to the world around them, with the aim of improving operational performance, safety, through life costs and/or adoption through improvement in the experience of the end user. The terms "human factors" and "Ergonomics" have only been widely known in recent times: the field's origin is in the design and use of aircraft during World War II to improve aviation safety. It was in reference to the psychologists and physiologists working at that time and the work that they were doing that the terms "applied psychology", "applied psychologist" and “ergonomics” were first coined. Other terms used to describe the discipline and their related professions are; Human Factors > Human Factors Practitioner

Ergonomics > Ergonomist
Human Factors Engineering > Human Factors Engineer
Sub-disciplines or specialisations within this field include; Cognitive Ergonomics > Cognitive Engineer
Usability > Usability Engineer - Usability Professional
Human Computer / Human Machine Interaction > HCI Engineer
User Experience > User Experience Engineer
This is not an exhaustive list and new terms are being generated all the time. For instance “User Trial Engineer” may refer to a HF professional that specialises in user trials. Although the names change HF professionals share a underlying vision (see “the Human Factors Community’s Vision”) that through the application of HF the design of equipment, systems and working methods will be improved and therefore have a direct effect (for the better) on people’s lives. Human factors practitioners can come from a variety of backgrounds; though predominantly they are Psychologists (Cognitive, Perceptual, and Experimental) and physiologists. Designers (Industrial, Interaction, and Graphic), Anthropologists, Technical communication Scholars and Computer Scientists also contribute. Though some practitioners enter the field of Human Factors from other disciplines, both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Human Factors Engineering are available from several universities worldwide. [edit] Human Factors Science

"Human Factors" are sets of human-specific physical, mental and behavioral properties which either may interact in a critical or dangerous manner with technological systems, human natural environment and human organizations, or they can be taken under consideration in the design of ergonomic human-user oriented equipments. The choice/identification of human factors usually depends on their possible negative or positive impact on the functioning of human-organization and human-machine system. [edit] The human-machine model

see also: human-machine system
The simple human-machine model is of a person interacting with a machine in some kind of environment. The person and machine are both modeled as information-processing devices, each with inputs, central processing, and outputs. The inputs of a person are the senses (e.g., eyes, ears) and the outputs are effectors (e.g., hands, voice). The inputs of a machine are input control devices (e.g., keyboard, mouse) and the outputs are output display devices (e.g., screen, auditory alerts). The environment can be characterized physically (e.g., vibration, noise, zero-gravity), cognitively (e.g., time pressure, uncertainty, risk), and/or organizationally (e.g., organizational structure, job design). This provides a convenient way for organizing some of the major concerns of human engineering: the selection and design of machine displays and controls; the layout and design of workplaces; design for maintainability; and the design of the work environment. [edit] Human Factors Engineering

"Human Factors" also is the name of an engineering profession that focuses on how people interact with tasks, machines (or computers), and the environment with the consideration that humans have limitations and capabilities. Often, human...
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