Thursday, June 28, 2007

Feasibility of Changing Minds, Changing Habits

Everything seems to be called an ergonomic product ...

"... Ergonomics seem relegated to the eccentric side of consumerism. It’s something that only a few “crazies” think and obsess about. Who uses the standup mouse or the walk while you work anyway?

I’d call this group hippies but they’re a bit too computer savvy to be considered hippies. What should I call them, understanding that I am probably a member of the group?

I think it’s pretty mainstream knowledge (don’t shoot me on this) that staying at a computer all day is really bad for the body. Sitting in a chair, hunched over, tapping away on little plastic keys while you (try to) stare down the monitor is in no way a good thing for your muscle structure. Hence the investment of extremely creative energies into solving what is probably among the modern world’s most difficult of engineering challenges: getting the human body to conform comfortably to the hyper-connected, Internet-based world we’ve created for ourselves.

What I find perverse is there’s such a prevalence of ergonomically engineered products but nobody uses them! Companies just keep on buying the same damn keyboard and mouse from Dell and Microsoft, the same stupid chairs, and the same confining cubicles, etc, etc. Is this a lack of sales force? Marketing know-how on the part of the engineers. I wouldn’t be surprised because engineers tend to think (and this is really just based on personal experience working with them) that if it’s built the best, people will find it and automatically make a switch. Like the calls for product orders are just going to roll in. It’s very strange that the engineering side would think things like that. I guess they don’t spend too much time outside their equations, designs, and algorithms to notice what the non-engineers are doing. Does this mean they question me taking a pay check home?

My point is that until we reach a critical mass of users in the right positions (people capable of making the culture changes through policy or purchase) as well as a willingness to change (adopt, use, purchase, ect), ergonomics is going to be for “computer hippies” and only for computer hippies. Period."    (Continued via The Ergonomenon)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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