What is Ergonomics?


The word ergonomics — “the science of work” is derived from the Greek ergon (work) and nomos (laws). Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data, and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance. The terms ergonomics and human factors are often used interchangeably or as a unit (e.g., human factors/ergonomics – HF/E or E/HF), a practice that is adopted by the IEA.

Source: IEA 2020, https://iea.cc/what-is-ergonomics/

What is Human-Computer Interaction?

Human–computer Interaction (HCI) involves the study, planning, and design of the interaction between users and computers.

Domains of specialization in HFE and HCI 

  • Physical Ergonomics is concerned with human anatomical, anthropometric, physiological and biomechanical characteristics as they relate to physical activity such as working postures.
  • Cognitive Ergonomics is concerned with mental processes, such as perception, memory, reasoning, and motor response, as they affect interactions among humans and other elements of a system. For example, mental workload.
  • Organizational Ergonomics is concerned with the optimization of socio-technical systems, including their organizational structures, policies, and processes such as communication.

Ergonomics Standard

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) ergonomics standard 9241 (ISO 1992) provides important, internationally recognized, criteria for selecting or designing computer equipment and systems. ISO carries out its work through a series of technical committees, one of which is ISO TC 159 SC4 Ergonomics of Human System Interaction Committee, which is responsible for ergonomics standards for situations in which human beings and technological systems interact.The primary technical work of the committee takes place in eight Working Groups (WGs). This sub-committee has developed ISO 9241.

Source: Stewart, T. (2011). Ergonomics Standards. In: 52. Visual display Unit, D. Berthelette (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety, International Labor Organization, Geneva.