Saturday, October 22, 2005

Car buyers tend to overlook ergonomics

The importance of evaluating a car based on ergonomics ...

THE word ergonomics does not come from ergo, which means therefore, but rather from erg, which is a unit of work. It is the study of efficiency in the workplace, but has also come to mean user-friendly design. It is one of those words you can throw into a conversation about anything from cars to toasters. Sloppy ergonomic engineering can make a product hateful to use, while good design simply feels natural and intuitive.

It is not so simple to fix ergonomic flaws that are built into a motor vehicle. In years past, drivers simply adapted to what the manufacturers threw their way. Peugeots, for example, often had the turn signal mounted on the right side of the steering column. My MGA had a dashboard knob for the same purpose.

The bulletproof six-cylinder Dodge pickup that I owned for many years required training in daylight to find unlit switchgear, scattered at random across the dash. These days we expect better thought out controls from our vehicle makers.

Buyers often overlook ergonomics in the lust of the moment. At the very least, try to be aware of these considerations. If you spend a lot of time commuting or rack up serious highway travel, test the vehicle in these conditions. A long test drive and some poking around, preferably with impartial assistance, makes it easier to figure out good and bad points. Then a clear choice can be made. If the rest of the vehicle fits the bill, will it be possible to adapt to or overlook certain quirks? Living with something that annoys on a daily basis is about as much fun as drinking dishwater."   continued ...   (Via )

Bad Ergonomics - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

Bad Ergonomics: push button in unexpected way to lock door.

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