Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘risks or fatal accidents

April 4, 2005

“What message should the Human Factors profession transmit?”

I have in a previous article, in a short sentence that may have gone unnoticed, mentioned that the main objective of Human Factors Engineering is designing interfaces between complex systems and targeted end users.

Modern days are an accumulation of very complex systems that societies can no longer live without and have to suffer their consequences in health, safety, comfort, risks or fatal accidents.

Modern days rely on communications systems, on health care, on educational, on information, on transportation, on energy, on financial, on tourism, on diplomatic, and even on political systems.  Usually, there are purposes for establishing any system and the money generated could only be the consequences of satisfying human specific demands that a developed standard of living requires, or are encouraged through advertisements, or are initiated by new laws to regulating a society.

Transportation systems, from automobile to trains to airplanes and ships have allowed distances to be accessible to many users for daily business in remote areas from where they reside.  More people are tempted to doing routine business trips to other countries and the trend might increase if entrance visas to foreign countries were to be eliminated.

A transportation system consists of safe routes, safe vehicles, safe maintenance facilities, safety standards, health standards, and efficient human support from ticketing, to baggage claim, to insurance, to inspection, to monitoring and to planning for future expansions.

Modern days rely on power generation and distribution systems, from the kind of energy sources, to the distribution lines, to the demand and supply of energy, to the maintenance facilities and all the safety and health standards and human support interfaces.

This modern world, more than in any previous centuries, is plagued with complex systems that are automated in many portions with no human understanding of how a system functions or can be repaired or be redesigned except a few rare professional experts.

These vast and very costly systems are created, assembled, maintained and run by different specialized personnel who have no serious interconnections among one another.

Every section of any system requires an interface with another section so that the end user can communicate with another section without any obligation to know or understand the details of the other section.

These interfaces have to be designed to be used with minimal skills, knowledge or special training. These interfaces have to be usably friendly and to fit most of the personnel regardless of gender, race, stature or religious affiliations.

These interfaces should have functions and tasks that correlate well with the capabilities of the users. Consumers require easy to use objects, safe objects, error free and accident free objects.

Consumers need to access these complex systems quickly, cheaply, without the requirement for extensive training or intermediate personnel to doing business or making the objects function according to their idiosyncrasies. The Human Factors engineering discipline should be the application of the body of knowledge, information and facts about human abilities, limitations, and characteristics to the design of tools, machines, systems, tasks, jobs, and environments for safe, comfortable and effective human use; it is expected to direct its research toward practical design purposes and offer data that can be readily applied by engineers from different discipline.

Note:  My initial version attached the word “system” to every service offered in order to exaggerate the trend in our modern world.  The baffled student who was assigned to reading my version was prompted by the whole class, in a rhythmic fashion, sarcastically pronouncing “system” to every word he read.


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adonis49

adonis49

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