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E R G O N O M I C S,-Human Factors, Man-Machine-Interface

Room Numbers Nuclear Power Plant Control Rooms Aircraft Warning! Systems
This Side Up Architect "planted" Sidewalks Aircraft Instruments
Street Signs Oscilloscope Layout Book Layout
Stair Steps The Lathe & the Milling Machine U.S. Postal Service
  GUI  ver  HUI  LINK TV Remote Controls
  Tactile Feedback

...Ergonomics or Common Sense or Ergonomics or Common Sense or...
Ergonomics isn't always Common Sense; but then again what is Common Sense?
Is it a Room Number?
a Door Number?

A Surprising Number of Room Numbers are attached to Doors which swing open and hide the Room Number to all but those who would Duck into The Room looking for the Room Number that is attached to the Door --Huh?

 Now, ...That's a Room Number


 \/\/\/-Don't let Your Fingers do the Walking-\/\/\/

How about the Architect who built a high-rise office building complex and did not install sidewalks?

He only planted grass--and he was roundly criticized: "What could he have been thinking?" 

Six weeks later he returned and installed sidewalks--right where the tenants had worn pathways: taking their route, not the architect's. 


Tactile Feedback: 

Keyboard Keys, Mouse Buttons, Joystick buttons, etc...

Tactile feedback is one of the most BASIC sensory inputs to human operators.

"There is nothing like the feel of real Microswitches under my finger tips in the morning!"

Speaking of which, beware of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), which is one of a family of injuries called, Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).

There is a very helpful resource, which has recently been brought to our attention, http://www.certstaff.com/ergonomic-staffing-solutions.html.
Be sure to check out the many links at the bottom of the page.

Nuclear Power Plant Control Rooms

2 Reactors, 2 Control Rooms,
one the Mirror Image of the Other. 

Heard just before the Melt-Down:

  "...I'm replacing Jones, who's out sick, I normally work in control Room B..."
What's Wrong with this Picture?

Aircraft Warning! Systems
From Flashing lights & loud Buzzers to Voice Warning

In the early days after WWII, as aircraft performance increased at an astonishing pace, the U.S. Air Force faced the problem of alerting aircrew members to emergencies quickly. 

This was especially true on long missions where pilots suffered from "Highway Hypnosis." 

When an event did occur, flashing light and blaring horns went un-noticed for tens of seconds to as much as several minutes. This delay to action--whether extinguishing a fire or leaving the aircraft--was frequently fatal! 

So a solution was sought in the form of an Automated Voice Warning System:

It started off using a Male Voice: 
"Attention! Attention! Attention!  Number two engine is overheating!"
Soon it was discovered that the pilot responded even faster to a Female Voice: 
"Hello Sailor! Hello Sailor! Hello Sailor! Your number two engine is overheating, Honey!" 
And quicker still, was the use of the voice of the pilot's Wife or Daughter: 
"Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!  Your number two engine is overheating!" 
  Although this all started with the B-47 and B-52 heavy bombers, it is now pretty universal to most military aircraft.
  Now when a pilot first takes delivery of his new F-16 fighter, he brings with him a cassette of his wife's, daughter's, or mother's voice samples and uploads them to the F-16's flight computer.
Aircraft Instrument: Attitude Gyro, A.K.A., Artificial Horizon
There is a primary aircraft instrument called the Attitude Gyro (known also as the Artificial Horizon).

Its function is to present to the pilot the aircraft's attitude or position relative to the horizon: it indicates pitch (climb/dive) and roll (bank angle/rate of turn).

The standard/conventional instrument display presents a fixed aircraft wing against a moving horizon.

I propose a nonstandard instrument display that presents a moving aircraft wing against a fixed horizon.

The reason behind this departure is based on my experience as an Instrument Trainer (Link Trainer) instructor in the USAF.

Years ago my task was to administer the SAC Instrument Exam to B-52 pilots 90 days prior to their taking the same exam in the actual aircraft.

Among the exercises was a newly added procedure call the "Recovery from Unusual Attitudes." This was where the pilot would close his eyes, and I would take the aileron wheel and put the aircraft into an unusual attitude, e.g., climbing and rolling to the right; diving and rolling to the left, etc...then I would tell the pilot to open his eyes and recover the aircraft.

Invariably--if the pilot had never done this exercise before--he would open his eyes look at the attitude gyro and recover the aircraft the wrong way, backwards--then realizing his mistake, would recover it correctly.

However, once a pilot had gone through this exercise, he always recovered the aircraft correctly there after.

This tells me that the instrument is intuitively backwards, that the basic instinct is to view the aircraft (wings) as moving against a stationary horizon.

Standard Attitude Gyro, Horizon moves
Nonstandard Attitude Gyro, Wings move

  Boxes, Packages, Crates... 
Things with Sides, Tops & Bottoms 

If the This Side Up caution is printed on the side that is suppose to be Up, But it is not Up but Down, Covering the This Side Up directions: How do you Know when it is setting on its Top and should be Turned Over?  Hu? Hu?

Gee, Would This Work?-->   <Bottom, Other End Up>
From an Ergonomic point of View:
Can 'Book Layouts' be much Worst ?
"Hmm, lets see... Where to put the Page Numbers on this Book?"

  Page Numbers:
How about the top outside corners, where one's eyes will be if and when they start to read that page!

How much extra Ink would it take to put the page numbers at more than one location on the page?  --The Reader now has their choice.

Numbering System
Duh, Where does Chapter Eight begin? Page 446 -v-  Page 8-1 (maybe use both?)

 TOC & Index
Why is the Index at one end of the book, and the Table of Contents at the other?

When I go to either, how many pages away am I? 

If the Table of Contents and the Index were in the middle of the book, wouldn't that be more convenient? 
Index in the middle with slightly Larger Pages (and heavier paper?) 

Need for: 

Summary, Outline, Diagrams, etc... 

Reader's Digest bullets on their TOC--old days and Now!
Magazines with Missing Page Numbers--What a Pain! --

 The U.S. Postal Service
Come on Guys: How about a Drive In Window ... Duh!

Post Office Parking Lots, They are either nonexistent, or they are so far from the customer counter, you need a shuttle bus.  One gets the feel that "autos are a Temporary Thing."

 Street Signs:
Too Damn High to see at night! 
Lettering Too Damn  s m a l l  to see until its too late to turn. 
Apartment House Numbers, Placement, e.g., Walnut Hills apartments at night time: don't forget to bring a machete and a map of the area.
 Stair Steps
Who were these steps designed for, small children?
Future Topics: 
Drive-Ins: Awnings at Mc Donald's, Hardee's, etc., there is nothing more satisfying than to take my fries with a little rain water. And, the Menu Signs have small print and are set back from the customer's car; when the time comes to give your order, then you can read the menu.
My personal Favorite: Oscilloscope Layout
 OK, I give up.  Where the Hell is the "Trigger Level" on this one?
 Most Engineers feel intimidated using an unfamiliar Oscilloscope.
 If automobiles were designed the way Oscilloscopes are, you might hear the following: 
   "...Oh John, look at this model, it has the Steering Wheel in the glove compartment."
   "Well, take a look at this one Gurt, this one has it in the trunk..."
Most TV Remote Controls are anything but Intuitive!
Gold on Black
Big Buttons
Touchy Feely Buttons

Back to Basics, More Intuitive  --Ahh, Knobs
Intuitive Toggle Switch
Non-Intuitive Toggle Switch
milling  Machine
In the case of the Lathe, the toggle switch "points" in the direction of the Cutting Tool's travel.

The Milling Machine, on the other hand, the toggle switch is reversed.  Even though the "End Mill" (cutting tool) is stationary and the Piece being milled moves; the machinist "Watches" the piece being milled: to him the "relative" movement is the Endmill tool moving 'against' the Piece to be milled. 




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Ergonomics  LINKS:

    Bad Designs   http://www.baddesigns.com/

    RSI Resources   http://www.certstaff.com/ergonomic-staffing-solutions.html

    Interface Hall of Shame   http://www.iarchitect.com/shame.htm
          Links   http://www.iarchitect.com/links.htm

    Real Interfaces http://www.mackido.com/Interface/RealInterfaces.html