Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The human factor - What is an ergonomic product?

Ergonomic hand tools, ergonomic chairs, ergonomic phones, ergonomic celery — you hear it everywhere, but what does ergonomic really mean?

There are no regulations or guidelines on what can be called an ergonomic product. In fact, any product could be called ergonomic, whether it has beneficial features or not. For a while, advertisers and marketers were calling any “new and improved" product an ergonomic product. Lately there has been a shift in strategy because the ergonomic label began to be recognized as nothing more than a marketing gimmick.

When I teach a course in ergonomics, I often have people compare an ergonomic product with its non-ergonomic counterpart. They compare ergo-whisks with non-ergo whisks, drills, needle-nosed pliers, shovels, rotary cutters and sports drink bottles. Consistently, they come up with a list of features that makes one product more desirable than the other.

User Interface Design - Ergonomics

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