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Performance criteria? Are we designing for mankind?

What could be the Human Factors performance criteria?

Note: Re-edit (Human Factors in Engineering, Article #38, written in March 31, 2006)

Performance” is the magic answer offered by university students to questions like “What is the purpose of this course, of this method, of this technique, or of this design?”

Performance is what summarizes all the conscious learning in the knowledge bag, for lack of meaningful full sentences available in the language to express clear purposes.

It takes a couple of months to wean the students from the catch word “performance” and encourage them to try thinking harder for specificity.

There is a hierarchy for this abstract notion of “performance”.

The next level of abstraction is to answer: “What kind of performance?“.

The third level should answer: “How these various performances criteria correlate?  Can we sort them out between basic performances and redundant performance criteria?”.

The fourth level is: “How much for each basic performance criterionCan we measure them accurately and objectively?”

It seems that every discipline has created for itself a set of performance criteria and they are coined in stone, so that an insertion of another element into that set, is like a paradigm shift in its field of science.

If you prompt a business or engineering university student to expand on the meaning of “performance”, when supported by a specific example, it might dawn on him to spell out another piece of jewels such as: “max profit”, “minimize cost”, “improve quality”, “increase production”, “save time”, or “increase market share”.

In order to reach a finer level of specificity we need to define functionally.

For example, what “max profit” means?  A string of monosyllables rains from everywhere such as: “increase price”, “cut expenditure”, “sell more”, and again “improve quality”, “save time”, or “increase market share”. 

If we agree that profit is a function of market share, price, expenditure, added values of products, and marketing services then we can understand what could be the basic criteria and which criteria dependent on the basic ones.

How can a business improve performance?

How can it make profit or cut costs? 

Should the firm layoff redundant employees, force early retirement, dip in insurance funds, contract out product parts and administrative processes, eliminate training programs, scrap off the library or continuing learning facilities,…

Or streamline the design process, reduce advertising money, abridge break times in duration or frequency, cut overhead expenses such as control lighting and comfort of the working environment, stop investing in new facilities…

Or firing skilled workers, settling consumer plaintiffs out of court, searching for tax loopholes, or engineering financial statements?

How can a business increase its market share? How can it survive competitors and continually flourish?

How can a firm improve products for the quality minded engineers?

Should it invest on the latest technological advancements in equipment, machines, and application software, or should it select the best mind among the graduates…

Or should it establish a continuing education program with adequate learning facilities, or should it encourage its engineers to experiment and submit research papers, or should it invest on market research to know the characteristics of its customers…

Or should it built in safety in the design process, or perform an extensive analysis of the foreseeable misuses of its products or services, the type of errors generated in the functioning and operation of its products and their corresponding risks on health of the users, or manage properly employees’ turnover…

Or care about the safety and health of its skilled and dedicated workers, or ordering management to closely monitor the safety and health standards applied in the company?

At the first session of my course “Human factors in engineering” I ask my class:  “What is the purpose of an engineer?

The unanimous answer is: “performance”.

What are the criteria for an engineer?  The loud and emphatic answer is: “performance”!

At the first session of my class I repeat several times that the purpose of the engineering discipline is to design practical products or systems that man needs and wants, that human factors engineers are trained to consider first the health and safety of end users, the customers, the operators, and the workers when designing interfaces for products or systems.

At the first session I tell my class that the body of knowledge of human factors is about finding practical design guidelines based on the capabilities and limitations of end users, body and mind, with the following performance criteria:

To eliminate errors, to foresee unsafe misuses, to foresee near-accidents, to design in safety operations, to consider the health problems in the product and its operation, to study the safety and health conditions in the workplace and the organizational procedures…

And to improve working conditions physically, socially, and psychologically, and to be aware of the latest consumer liability legal doctrines.

A month later, I am confronted with the same cycle of questions and answers, mainly: “What is the purpose of an engineer?”  The unanimous answer is: “performance”.  What are the criteria for a human factors engineer?  The loud and emphatic answer is: “performance”!

A few students remember part of the long list of human factors performance criteria, but the end users are still hard to recognize them in their conscious knowledge.

A few students retained the concept of designing practical interfaces or what an interface could be but the pictures of end users are still blurred.

I have to emphasize frequently that the end users could be their engineering colleagues, their family members, and themselves.

I have to remind them that any product, service, or system design is ultimately designed for people to use, operate, and enjoy the benefit of its utility.

Human factors performance criteria are all the above and the design of products or services should alleviating the repetitive musculo-skeletal disorders by reducing efforts, vibration…

And proper handling of tools and equipment, designing for proper postures, minimizing static positions, and especially to keep in mind that any testing and evaluation study should factor in the condition that a worker or an employee is operating 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and for many years.

I tell them that any profit or cost cutting is ultimately at the expense of workers/employees, their financial stability, safety standards, comfort, and health conditions physically, socially, and psychologically

Whereas any increase in performance should be undertaken as a value added to the safety, comfort, and health of the end users and workers.

Does emotional intelligence make you a better designer?

If you need to understand what is coined Emotional Intelligence, do refer to links in Note 2 and 3.

Emotional intelligence does make us better designers. a substantial body of research supports this.

Better designers understand the relationship between their designs and the resulting emotional experience 1.

And that’s because the emotional connection to a design is what engages us in the first place 2.

Later, we attempt to rationalize those emotions.

William Choukeir posted this November 14, 2013

F.C. Buck Rogers wrote: “customers buy on emotion and then justify with logic”.

Look at the image above. What do you feel?

Those of us who can identify with what the woman is feeling are on the right track.

“The iPod was not the 1st mp3 player, but it was the 1st to be delightful”. —Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO

So what is emotional intelligence really?

In short, at the center of emotional intelligence is empathy 3. and empathy allows us to understand another’s feelings, and be able to re-experience them 3. empathy allows us to understand another’s point of view 4.

design thinkers can imagine the world from multiple perspectives—those of end users and customers (current and prospective.) they can imagine solutions that are ‘desirable’. —Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO

A few are better than others at using emotions to solve design problems 3. this doesn’t mean that those with lower emotional intelligence are doomed at design. there’s good news for them. it seems, emotional intelligence is a skill that can be learned 3.

there are now proven steps to improve this skill 5:

1. the first step is knowing what the 8 core emotions are. all remaining emotions are a mix of those core emotions 6. each emotion is a button. the more we can identify the nuances between emotions we’re feeling, the better we can trigger them through our designs.

2. knowing which button to press might not make our job easier. but it sure helps us identify what’s important from all the noise.

you might look at the image of the woman above and feel something negative. or you might notice a more specific emotion, like sadness. if you’re more emotionally aware, you might identify more subtle emotions like disappointmentshameangerremorse and, just maybe, hope. if you identified those more subtle emotions, then you’re on the right track.

Note 1: If you like to submit you reply and participate, link to Does emotional intelligence make you a better designer?

references:
1• Chitturi, R. Raghunathan, R. & Mahajan, V. (2008). Delight by design: The role of hedonic versus utilitarian benefits. Journal of Marketing, 72-73,
2• Brown, T. (2008). Harvard Business Review: Design thinking, 84.
3• Salovey, P. Yale University. Mayer D., J. University of New Hampshire. (1990) Emotional intelligence. Baywood Publishing Co. Inc.
4• Hogan, R. (1969). Development of an empathy scale. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology. 33.
5• Emotional competence framework, Consortium for research on emotional intelligence in organizations. (1998). eiconsortium.org
6•  Plutnik, R. (1980). A general psycho-evolutionary theory of emotion, in emotion: theory, research, and experience, Volume 1. Academic press, NY. 3-33.

Emotional Intelligence? And Performance criteria in Meditation research

Mindfulness is the ability to voluntarily bring back a wandering attention, over and over again…

This ability is the very root of judgment, character and will.

And this ability to improve mindfulness requires education and training par excellence … (William James, father of modern psychology)

Before I mention the performance criteria in meditation research, it is good to describe what the book objectives in “Search Inside Yourself” by Chade-Meng Tan are:

Emotional Intelligence: Like what?

1. Self-awareness for knowing your internal emotional states, preferences, resources, and kinds of intuitions…

2. Self-regulating your internal emotional states, impulses and resources…

3. Motivating your emotional tendencies that guide and facilitate reaching a few of your goals

4. Empathy and awareness of other’s feelings, needs and concerns. For example, your first intuition on meeting anybody is to say to yourself “I wish for this person to be happy”

5. Building social skills and getting adept at including desirable responses in others…

Performance criteria in meditation research:

1. High-amplitude gamma brain waves: Associated with high effectiveness in memory, learning and perception

2. Healing of psoriasis: a skin condition characterized by red spots that grow larger as the disease worsens

3. Thicker cortex in brain regions associated with attention and sensory processing.

4. Lowering anxiety level:  Increased electrical activity in the brain regions associated with positive emotion…

5. Increased immunity to illnesses: Subjects in meditation group injected with flu shots develop more antibodies to the influenza vaccine

6. Attention- blink span: The normal attention-blink time for processing two successive stimuli is about 50 milliseconds. Meditation exercises reduce the span and permit to attend to two stimuli. Consequently, improvement in the ability to pay attention to information for a prolonged period of time…

Mindfulness permit the self-discovery in a scientific inquiry process.

Training the attention has for objective to improve and develop insight into the mind.

Thus, attention is a powerful torchlight that can spot what we are searching for in a dark room…

 The Illusionist performer: “What performance criteria again?”

“Performance” is the magic answer offered by university students to questions like “What is the purpose of this course, of this method, of this technique, or of this design?” 

Performance is what summarizes all the conscious learning in the knowledge bag for lack of meaningful full sentences available in the language to express clear purposes.

It takes a couple of months to wean the students from the catch word “performance” and encourage them to try harder for specificity.

There is a hierarchy for this abstract notion of “performance”:

The first level of abstraction is to answer “What do you mean by performance?”

The second level of abstraction is to answer: “What kind of performance?”

The third level should answer: “How these various performances criteria correlate?  Can we sort them out between basic performances and redundant performance criteria?” and

The fourth level is: “How much for each basic performance criterion?  Can we measure them accurately and objectively?

It seems that every discipline has created for itself a set of performance criteria that an insertion of another element into that set is like a paradigm shift in its field of science.

For example, if you prompt a business or engineering university student to expand on the meaning of “performance”, when supported by a specific example, it might dawn on him to spell out another piece of jewels such as: “max profit”, “minimize cost”, “improve quality”, “increase production”, “save time”, or “increase market share”.

In order to reach a finer level of specificity we need to define functionally, for example, what “max profit” means?

A string of monosyllables rains from every where such as: “increase price”, “cut expenditure”, “sell more”, and again “improve quality”, “save time”, or “increase market share”.

If we agree that profit is a function of market share, price, expenditure, added values of products, and marketing services ,then we can understand what could be the basic criteria and which criteria dependent on the basic ones.

How can a business improve performance? How can it make profit or cut costs? 

Should the firm layoff redundant employees, force early retirement, dip in insurance funds, contract out product parts and administrative processes, eliminate training programs, scrap off the library or continuing learning facilities, streamline the design process, reduce advertising money, abridge break times in duration or frequency, cut overhead expenses such as control lighting and comfort of the working environment, stop investing in new facilities, firing expensive skilled workers, settling consumer plaintiffs out of court, searching for tax loopholes, or engineering financial statements?

How can a business increase its market share? How can it survive competitors and continually flourish?

How can a firm improve products for the quality minded engineers?

Should it invest on the latest technological advancements in equipments, machines, and application software, or should it select the best mind among the graduates, or should it establish a continuing education program with adequate learning facilities, or should it encourage its engineers to experiment and submit research papers, or should it invest on market research to know the characteristics of its customers, or should it built in safety in the design process, or perform an extensive analysis of the foreseeable misuses of its products or services, the type of errors generated in the functioning and operation of its products and their corresponding risks on health of the users, or manage properly employees’ turnover, or care about the safety and health of its skilled and dedicated workers, or ordering management to closely monitor the safety and health standards applied in the company?

At the first session of my course “Human factors in engineering” I ask my class: What is the purpose of an engineer?  The unanimous answer is: “performance”.

What are the criteria for an engineer?  The loud and emphatic answer is: “performance”!

At the first session of my class I repeat several times that the purpose of the engineering discipline is to design practical products or systems that man needs and wants, that human factors engineers are trained to consider first the end users, the customers, the operators, and the workers when designing interfaces for products or systems.

At the first session I tell my class that the body of knowledge of human factors is about finding practical design guidelines based on the capabilities and limitations of end users, body and mind, with the following performance criteria: to eliminate errors, to foresee unsafe misuses, to foresee near-accidents, to design in safety operations, to consider the health problems in the product and its operation, to study the safety and health conditions in the workplace and the organizational procedures, to improve working conditions physically, socially, and psychologically, and to be aware of the latest consumer liability legal doctrines.

A month later, I am confronted with the same cycle of questions and answers, mainly: What is the purpose of an engineer?  The unanimous answer is: “performance”.

What are the criteria for a human factors engineer?  The loud and emphatic answer is: “performance”!

A few students remember part of the long list of human factors performance criteria, but the end users are still hard to recognize.

A few students retained the concept of designing practical interfaces or what an interface could be, but the pictures of end users are still blurred.

I have to emphasize frequently that the end users could be their engineering colleagues, their family members, and themselves. 

I have to remind them that any product, service, or system design is ultimately designed for people to use, operate, and enjoy the benefit of its utility.

Human factors performance criteria are all the above and the design of products or services should alleviating the repetitive musculoskeletal disorders by reducing efforts, vibration, and proper handling of tools and equipments, designing for proper postures, minimizing static positions, and especially to keep in mind that any testing and evaluation study should factor in the condition that a worker or an employee is operating 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and for many years. 

I tell them that any profit or cost cutting is ultimately at the expense of workers/employees, their financial stability, safety standards, comfort, and health conditions physically, socially, and psychologically whereas any increase in performance should be undertaken as a value added to the safety, comfort, and health of the end users.

Article 38

“What could be the Human Factors performance criteria?

“Performance” is the magic answer offered by university students to questions like “What is the purpose of this course, of this method, of this technique, or of this design?”  Performance is what summarizes all the conscious learning in the knowledge bag for lack of meaningful full sentences available in the language to express clear purposes. It takes a couple of months to wean the students from the catch word “performance” and encourage them to try harder for specificity.

There is a hierarchy for this abstract notion of “performance”; the next level of abstraction is to answer: “What kind of performance?” the third level should answer: “How these various performances criteria correlate?  Can we sort them out between basic performances and redundant performance criteria?” and the fourth level is: “How much for each basic performance criterion?  Can we measure them accurately and objectively?”

It seems that every discipline has created for itself a set of performance criteria that an insertion of another element into that set is like a paradigm shift in its field of science. If you prompt a business or engineering university student to expand on the meaning of “performance”, when supported by a specific example, it might dawn on him to spell out another piece of jewels such as: “max profit”, “minimize cost”, “improve quality”, “increase production”, “save time”, or “increase market share”.  In order to reach a finer level of specificity we need to define functionally, for example, what “max profit” means.  A string of monosyllables rains from every where such as: “increase price”, “cut expenditure”, “sell more”, and again “improve quality”, “save time”, or “increase market share”.  If we agree that profit is a function of market share, price, expenditure, added values of products, and marketing services then we can understand what could be the basic criteria and which criteria dependent on the basic ones.

How can a business improve performance? How can it make profit or cut costs?  Should the firm layoff redundant employees, force early retirement, dip in insurance funds, contract out product parts and administrative processes, eliminate training programs, scrap off the library or continuing learning facilities, streamline the design process, reduce advertising money, abridge break times in duration or frequency, cut overhead expenses such as control lighting and comfort of the working environment, stop investing in new facilities, firing skilled workers, settling consumer plaintiffs out of court, searching for tax loopholes, or engineering financial statements?  How can a business increase its market share? How can it survive competitors and continually flourish?

How can a firm improve products for the quality minded engineers? Should it invest on the latest technological advancements in equipments, machines, and application software, or should it select the best mind among the graduates, or should it establish a continuing education program with adequate learning facilities, or should it encourage its engineers to experiment and submit research papers, or should it invest on market research to know the characteristics of its customers, or should it built in safety in the design process, or perform an extensive analysis of the foreseeable misuses of its products or services, the type of errors generated in the functioning and operation of its products and their corresponding risks on health of the users, or manage properly employees’ turnover, or care about the safety and health of its skilled and dedicated workers, or ordering management to closely monitor the safety and health standards applied in the company?

At the first session of my course “Human factors in engineering” I ask my class: What is the purpose of an engineer?  The unanimous answer is: “performance”.  What are the criteria for an engineer?  The loud and emphatic answer is: “performance”!  At the first session of my class I repeat several times that the purpose of the engineering discipline is to design practical products or systems that man needs and wants, that human factors engineers are trained to consider first the end users, the customers, the operators, and the workers when designing interfaces for products or systems.  At the first session I tell my class that the body of knowledge of human factors is about finding practical design guidelines based on the capabilities and limitations of end users, body and mind, with the following performance criteria: to eliminate errors, to foresee unsafe misuses, to foresee near-accidents, to design in safety operations, to consider the health problems in the product and its operation, to study the safety and health conditions in the workplace and the organizational procedures, to improve working conditions physically, socially, and psychologically, and to be aware of the latest consumer liability legal doctrines.

A month later, I am confronted with the same cycle of questions and answers, mainly: What is the purpose of an engineer?  The unanimous answer is: “performance”.  What are the criteria for a human factors engineer?  The loud and emphatic answer is: “performance”!  A few students remember part of the long list of human factors performance criteria but the end users are still hard to recognize.  A few students retained the concept of designing practical interfaces or what an interface could be but the pictures of end users are still blurred.  I have to emphasize frequently that the end users could be their engineering colleagues, their family members, and themselves.  I have to remind them that any product, service, or system design is ultimately designed for people to use, operate, and enjoy the benefit of its utility.

Human factors performance criteria are all the above and the design of products or services should alleviating the repetitive musculoskeletal disorders by reducing efforts, vibration, and proper handling of tools and equipments, designing for proper postures, minimizing static positions, and especially to keep in mind that any testing and evaluation study should factor in the condition that a worker or an employee is operating 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and for many years. 

I tell them that any profit or cost cutting is ultimately at the expense of workers/employees, their financial stability, safety standards, comfort, and health conditions physically, socially, and psychologically whereas any increase in performance should be undertaken as a value added to the safety, comfort, and health of the end users.

What could be the Human Factors performance criteria?

Note: Re-edit (Human Factors in Engineering, Article #38, written in March 31, 2006)

Performance” is the magic answer offered by university students to questions like “What is the purpose of this course, of this method, of this technique, or of this design?”

Performance is what summarizes all the conscious learning in the knowledge bag, for lack of meaningful full sentences available in the language to express clear purposes.

It takes a couple of months to wean the students from the catch word “performance” and encourage them to try thinking harder for specificity.

There is a hierarchy for this abstract notion of “performance”.

The next level of abstraction is to answer: “What kind of performance?“.

The third level should answer: “How these various performances criteria correlate?  Can we sort them out between basic performances and redundant performance criteria?”.

The fourth level is: “How much for each basic performance criterion?  Can we measure them accurately and objectively?”

It seems that every discipline has created for itself a set of performance criteria and they are coined in stone, so that an insertion of another element into that set, is like a paradigm shift in its field of science.

If you prompt a business or engineering university student to expand on the meaning of “performance”, when supported by a specific example, it might dawn on him to spell out another piece of jewels such as: “max profit”, “minimize cost”, “improve quality”, “increase production”, “save time”, or “increase market share”.

In order to reach a finer level of specificity we need to define functionally, for example, what “max profit” means.  A string of monosyllables rains from every where such as: “increase price”, “cut expenditure”, “sell more”, and again “improve quality”, “save time”, or “increase market share”.  If we agree that profit is a function of market share, price, expenditure, added values of products, and marketing services then we can understand what could be the basic criteria and which criteria dependent on the basic ones.

How can a business improve performance?

How can it make profit or cut costs? 

Should the firm layoff redundant employees, force early retirement, dip in insurance funds, contract out product parts and administrative processes, eliminate training programs, scrap off the library or continuing learning facilities, streamline the design process, reduce advertising money, abridge break times in duration or frequency, cut overhead expenses such as control lighting and comfort of the working environment, stop investing in new facilities, firing skilled workers, settling consumer plaintiffs out of court, searching for tax loopholes, or engineering financial statements?  How can a business increase its market share? How can it survive competitors and continually flourish?

How can a firm improve products for the quality minded engineers?

Should it invest on the latest technological advancements in equipment, machines, and application software, or should it select the best mind among the graduates, or should it establish a continuing education program with adequate learning facilities, or should it encourage its engineers to experiment and submit research papers, or should it invest on market research to know the characteristics of its customers, or should it built in safety in the design process, or perform an extensive analysis of the foreseeable misuses of its products or services, the type of errors generated in the functioning and operation of its products and their corresponding risks on health of the users, or manage properly employees’ turnover, or care about the safety and health of its skilled and dedicated workers, or ordering management to closely monitor the safety and health standards applied in the company?

At the first session of my course “Human factors in engineering” I ask my class:  “What is the purpose of an engineer?

The unanimous answer is: “performance”.  What are the criteria for an engineer?  The loud and emphatic answer is: “performance”!

At the first session of my class I repeat several times that the purpose of the engineering discipline is to design practical products or systems that man needs and wants, that human factors engineers are trained to consider first the health and safety of end users, the customers, the operators, and the workers when designing interfaces for products or systems.

At the first session I tell my class that the body of knowledge of human factors is about finding practical design guidelines based on the capabilities and limitations of end users, body and mind, with the following performance criteria: to eliminate errors, to foresee unsafe misuses, to foresee near-accidents, to design in safety operations, to consider the health problems in the product and its operation, to study the safety and health conditions in the workplace and the organizational procedures, to improve working conditions physically, socially, and psychologically, and to be aware of the latest consumer liability legal doctrines.

A month later, I am confronted with the same cycle of questions and answers, mainly: “What is the purpose of an engineer?”  The unanimous answer is: “performance”.  What are the criteria for a human factors engineer?  The loud and emphatic answer is: “performance”!

A few students remember part of the long list of human factors performance criteria, but the end users are still hard to recognize them.

A few students retained the concept of designing practical interfaces or what an interface could be but the pictures of end users are still blurred.

I have to emphasize frequently that the end users could be their engineering colleagues, their family members, and themselves.  I have to remind them that any product, service, or system design is ultimately designed for people to use, operate, and enjoy the benefit of its utility.

Human factors performance criteria are all the above and the design of products or services should alleviating the repetitive musculo-skeletal disorders by reducing efforts, vibration, and proper handling of tools and equipment, designing for proper postures, minimizing static positions, and especially to keep in mind that any testing and evaluation study should factor in the condition that a worker or an employee is operating 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and for many years.

I tell them that any profit or cost cutting is ultimately at the expense of workers/employees, their financial stability, safety standards, comfort, and health conditions physically, socially, and psychologically whereas any increase in performance should be undertaken as a value added to the safety, comfort, and health of the end users.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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