Human Factors knowledge and techniques have a critical role to play in system development by ensuring that the requirements of the end-user are captured and met by the design. Its application to system design improves usability, system performance and reliability, and user satisfaction; while reducing operational errors, training costs, and user stress and fatigue.
Typically, Human Factors support is required during all phases of system procurement; however a significant proportion of the effort is deployed during the initial phases in order to capture user requirements as early as possible. Human Factors is therefore easily integrated in more general change management efforts as the early engagement of the future users leads to greater acceptance of the new technology and way of working when it is finally implemented.
User Requirements Capture
A Human Factors project typically starts with an analysis phase that seeks to identify the user-centered requirements for the design of a new system or technology.
A number of analysis techniques can be deployed—ranging from simple task-based decomposition to a detailed analysis of the cognitive aspects of the work domain—depending on the constraints and requirements of the project.
The user-centered design requirements identified in the analysis phase are used to inform and guide the design of the system. The first iteration of the design typically comprises top-level design concepts and prototypes that are validated with subject matter experts.
Subsequent iterations will then hone the design to reach a complete design solution. A number of Human Factors design guidelines and standards are often used to streamline this process.
Testing and Evaluation
At key points within the development cycle of a system, the developing prototype will undergo a series of Human Factors-led evaluations to determine whether the user-centered requirements identified in the analysis phase are being met by the design.
Our team can draw from a wide range of evaluation techniques and measures; ranging from user experience evaluations using eye-tracking technologies to realistic field trials using a wide range of data collection techniques.
Selection and Training
Re-design of the work environment, and the work itself—fitting the task to the human— is only part of the equation.
Selection and training—fitting the (right) human to the task—is also important.
Training Needs Analysis help identify key competencies required for a specific work environment. These requirements are then used to develop bespoke selection and training programs.