Dunny Design

The fact that my emerging interest in Human Factors/Ergonomics and design (see¬†here) coincided to a large degree with me having to spend a lot of time in toilets due to colitis (see here), has meant I’ve developed a, some would say “unhealthy”, obsession fascination interest in the way toilets and bathrooms are designed. It basically¬†means that every time I go into a toilet or a bathroom, I’m paying more attention to what’s around me than I used to. This will include observing things such as taps, sinks, doors, locks, signage, layout (pretty much everything really!), and thinking about the potential impacts, both positive and negative, that these artefacts, that are “99% invisible“, have on aspects of life such as personal hygiene, public health, privacy, accessibility, usability, aesthetics and so on.

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Patient Work

One of the (many!) things I love about Human Factors/Ergonomics (HF/E) specialists is that a large chunk of their work involves studying, describing and naming “everyday” human experiences. So when I am listening to their presentations or reading their articles, it is not uncommon for me to have an “A-ha!” moment where they describe something that is very familiar to me. “Oh, that’s what that’s called!” or “Phew! I thought I was the only one that did that sort of thing!”. A relatively recent example of this for me was as at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia conference (HFESA17) last year. This time, the everyday experience that now had a name was “Patient Work”. Continue reading “Patient Work”

Hawaii False Alarm

The recent ballistic missile false alarm in Hawaii made headlines around the world. It was pretty quickly revealed that it occurred as the result of an employee selecting the wrong option from a menu of different options. There were two very similarly worded options, one for a “test” alert, and one for an actual alert. He selected, and then confirmed, the wrong one. Anyone who has used a computer for even a short period of time is aware of this potential error. It is rather disconcerting that a safety critical system such as this one doesn’t appear to have utilised any Human Factors/Ergonomics input or Usability Testing.

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