HFEM-SOSCO Program (3) 2017

Ergonomics for Safety and Health Practitioners is a third program organized by HFEM and supported by SOCSO. This program has been successfully held at PERODUA Learning Centre, Rawang, Selangor on June 6, 2017 (Tuesday).

Ergonomics awareness has a substantial impact on the industry, organization, management, employees and overall well-being of the system [1], [2]. The awareness of ergonomics is crucial to safety and health practitioners because it helps in ergonomics application and significantly contributes to human well-being and safety [3] and to ensure the implementation of ergonomics [4]. The effective implementation of ergonomics requires a great cooperation and active involvement of OSH practitioners and the OSH Committee in the workplace. Determining ergonomics risk factors at workplace should be taken as a priority because the effect of poor ergonomics practice takes time to occur and may appear after the retirement [5]. Furthermore, this program also highlighted on the importance of avoiding or reducing musculoskeletal injuries and exposing the participants on the method to implement the ergonomics control. Apart from that, participants gained some new inputs on proactive prevention strategies such as office stretching, back strengthening exercises and simple balloon exercises.

[1] Gungor C (2009) A human factors and ergonomics awareness survey of professional personnel in the American furniture industry, Msc. Thesis, Mississippi State University, US.
[2] Sundstrom, L. (2000) “Better Work Environment for Small Companies in Sweden,” in Proceeding of The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting B6, pp 175-177.
[3] Kroemer, K.H.E. and Grandjean, E. (1997) Fitting The Task to The Human : A Textbook of Occupational Ergonomics.5th Edition. London, Taylor and Francis.
[4] Rozlina, M. S.,  Awaluddin, M.S.,  Hamid, S. H. S. A., and Norhayati, Z. (2013) “Exploratory Analysis of Ergonomics Importance at Workplace and Safety Culture Amongst Occupational Safety and Health Practitioners” in G.-C. Yang et al. (eds.), IAENG Transactions on Engineering Technologies, Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering 229, DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-6190-2_8.
[5] Cooper,M.D., Philips, R. A. (2004) Exploratory analysis of the safety climate and safety behaviour relationship. J Saf Res 35:497–512.


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How User Experience Design Changed Business for 4 Organizations

Good web design is about more than portraying a brand, marketing, or good impressions. When design is centered around helping your customer meet their needs and reducing confusion & frustration, using a deep understanding of technology users’ psychology (a field called User Experience or UX), it can make a difference to your bottom line to the tune of millions of dollars. This is how employing UX methods helped four different organizations.

                Expedia ($12 million dollars in increased revenue in 1 year). Expedia, a travel booking website, found that they were losing millions due to visitors abandoning transactions during the checkout process – at a point where the visitors were already convinced to spend their money. Analytics of the failed transactions showed a pattern – these particular visitors appeared confused with one single field on the ‘address’ form, which asked for the visitor’s “Company”. Since this prompt came during the payment process, they entered their bank’s name instead, and then filled the rest of the address form with the bank’s address instead of their own. The website’s automated payment software would then reject the transaction because the address did not match the billing address on their credit card. These visitors abandoned Expedia, likely buying their tickets elsewhere. Just removing the text field for “Company” saw an immediate increase in revenue of $12 million over the next year.

                The $300 million dollar button. Founder of User Interface Engineering, Jared M. Spool, describes a case study where his team was asked to improve the design of an e-commerce website. This online retailer was experiencing a common e-commerce phenomenon called shopping cart abandonment; visitors abandon the transaction after already adding items to their shopping cart. Usability tests, including web analytics of visitor behaviour, and in-person observations of shoppers, showed that the problem lay with a single button during the checkout process. After clicking on Checkout, they were given two options: Register or Login – the website required visitors to have an account in order to complete the purchase. First-time visitors were very resistant to creating an account, expressing that they did not want to “have a relationship” with the online retailer. Even when they were not first-time visitors, they often could not remember their password and username combination, thus necessitating creating a new account. Even having a ‘retrieve password’ option did not help – over 150,000 visitors requested a password retrieval every single day, and only 25% of those completed the transaction. The redesign team performed a simple change – remove the Register button, and allow visitors to Checkout and complete the transaction without requiring registration. This lead to a $15 million increase in the very first month, and $300 million in the first year after the change.

                thetrainline.com ($2.8 million per year in increased sales). UK rail ticketing & journey planning website thetrainline.com receives 20 million visits every month, and its mobile app is the #1 travel app in the UK. Still, the company analyzed user behaviour on the site to see where improvements could be made. One of the design changes highlighted to visitors when availability for a certain train or ticket type was running low, and prompted visitors to buy the tickets before they were sold out. This change led to a 4.5% increase in conversion (sale) rates, translating into $2.8 million increase in revenue. Additionally, like the online retailer above, analysis of the user journey through the transaction showed a sharp 30% drop-off in conversions during the checkout process. Removing the requirement to register or login led to another $1.4 million increase in gross profit per year.

                Mozilla Firefox (70% decrease in support requests). Mozilla, creator of the Firefox browser, was fielding up to 11,000 support requests a month with less than 45% of the requests being addressed within 24 hours. One major reason for the high number of support requests was that users simply found it very difficult to find information in the extensive FAQ and support sections of the website. UX professionals at the Nielsen Norman Group conducted deep analysis of site visitor’s behaviours on the site, their pain points and most-desired information, and reconstructed the landing page and internal structure (called information architecture) of the support section. Rapid testing using paper prototypes of the redesigns meant that they could test up to 7 new designs over just 2 weeks, which saved not just on time but expenditure on functional, coded, actual websites. Over the 3-month period of the UX redesign effort, the number of support requests dropped to only about 2,000 support requests a month (because people could actually find the information they were looking for), and 90% of all support requests were being answered within 24 hours.

What helped each of these organizations was a dedication to understanding user behaviour and needs. This is done through the use of both quantitative UX methods (e.g., web analytics) as well as qualitative UX methods (e.g., usability testing, observation, interviews). Today, UX efforts are a huge part of how tech giants like Google and Microsoft design to capture the consumers’ hearts (and wallets). Yet, despite the demonstrable benefits of UX, many UX practitioners say that a lot of their time is spent advocating even for the need for UX efforts, especially early in the planning and design process when change is cheapest and fastest. In the end, user satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) can make a big impact on your business, and UX has time and time again shown that it is worth the investment.

Dr. Cameron Teoh
HELP University


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ACED Ergonomic Design Awards 2017

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On June 3, 2017, the Motorcycle Engineering Technology Laboratory (METAL) under the Ergonomics & Workstation Assessment Research Interest Group, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam was awarded “Best of Best” award for their product entitled ‘Postura MotergoTM: A Full Scale Ergonomics Motorcycle Simulator’ by the Asian Council on Ergonomics & Design (ACED) during the 1st ACED Ergonomic Design Awards 2017 in Japan. This event was organized in conjunction with the 2nd Asian Conference on Ergonomics & Design 2017 and the 58th Conference of Japan Ergonomics Society that was held at the College of Industrial Technology, Nihon University, Chiba, Japan from 1-4 June 2017. A trophy and a certificate of recognition were given to all award recipients by Professor Dr. Kentaro Kotani, President of the Asian Council on Ergonomics & Design (ACED) and Chairman of the 2nd Asian Conference on Ergonomics & Design 2017, which was accompanied by Professor Dr. Myung Hwan Yun, Chairman of the 1st ACED Ergonomic Design Awards 2017. 

The award ceremony took place during the 2nd Asian Conference on Ergonomics & Design 2017 banquet’s dinner and saw other three award recipients that are two from Korea and one from China. Also attending the ceremony was the President of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA), Dr. Yushi Fujita, Secretary and representative from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Malaysia (HFEM), Mr. Khairul Nazri Abd Wahib and Dr. Ng Yee Guan, and also representatives from other Asian ergonomics societies. 

The METAL’s simulator is part of two PhD candidates’ research project at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering with one of them is a current senior lecturer at the faculty; Mr. Helmi Bin Rashid and a full-time PhD candidate; Mr. Wan Muhammad Syahmi Bin Wan Fauzi. The project is currently supervised by YBhg. Professor Ir. Dr. Hj. Abdul Rahman Bin Omar, J.S.M and co-supervised by Dr. Sukarnur Bin Che Abdullah and Dr. Alias Bin Mohd Saman. The simulator holds two patent pending intellectual properties (IPs) and had received several intentions from local and international parties mainly from Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) that have shown interest to rent the facility besides to collaborate for future research. This is the first international recognition received by METAL for the simulator facility after receiving previous awards of Gold and Bronze medals during previous IIDEX competitions organized by RIBU, UiTM in 2014 and 2016 respectively. 

The project is funded by several research grants from the Ministry of Higher Learning Malaysia, FRGS (600-RMI/FRGS 5/3 (76/2014)) and Institute of Research Management & Innovation (IRMI), UiTM, CIFI (600-RMI/DANA 5/3/CIFI (5/2013)), LESTARI (600-IRMI/MYRA 5/3/LESTARI (002/2017) & 600- IRMI/MYRA 5/3/LESTARI (0066/2016) and REI (600-IRMI/DANA 5/3/REI (4/2015)).

Credits also go to other METAL Team Members, Assistant Engineers and Industrial Collaborators that
worked together towards this achievement as follows:

1. METAL Team Member, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, UiTM:
 Associate Professor Ismail Nasiruddin Bin Ahmad
 Associate Professor Roseleena Binte Jaafar
 Dr. Zulkifli Bin Mohamed
 Pn. Nursalbiah Binti Nasir

2. METAL Team Member, Faculty of Computer & Mathematical Sciences, UiTM:
 Associate Professor Dr. Hjh. Zamalia Binti Mahmud

3. METAL Team Member, Malaysian Academy of SME & Entrepreneurship Development
 Hj. Shamsury Bin Ab Karim

4. METAL Team Member, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Cyberjaya University College of Medical
Sciences (CUCMS):
 Associate Professor Dr. Hjh. Rohani Binti Haron
5. METAL Team Member, Undergraduate Students:
 Usman Bin Mohd Taib
 Muhammad Arif Bin Sabri

6. METAL Team Member, Graduated Students:
 Muhammad Hafizudin Bin Kamal
 Muhammad Firdaus Bin Azhar
 Mohd Afham Bin Azmi
 Muhammad Adzri Bin Adzman
 Mohamad Hafidz Bin Hamzah
 Shahrool Azree Bin Azlan
 Muhamad Syamim Bin Zainordin
 Mohd Saiful Arif Bin Bakeri

7. Assistant Engineers, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, UiTM:
 Machine Workshop, Level 2
 Welding Workshop, Level 2
 Ergonomic Laboratory
 CADEM Center

8. Industrial Collaborators:
 Summit Features Sdn. Bhd., Malaysia
 Timur Automation Engineering Sdn. Bhd., Malaysia
 Aman Semesta Enterprise, Malaysia
 IASystems, United Kingdom
With this achievement, it is hoped that METAL will continuously expand and pioneer Motorcycle
Ergonomics research towards a safer and better nation in the future.

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