The interactive software ergonomics

October 2016


Despite the stated objectives, i.e. the design of interactive systems useful, easy and fun to use, the design teams and development rarely apply the methods of research to guide their choices.

Implementation of Ergonomics/ Testing methods

Although the method of "user tested products" is "popular" in a growing number of projects (software products or the general public), the primary focus will be on the "evaluation of finished products"

That is: assessing the conformity of products with different standards or style guides available. Most teams seldom apply ergonomics methods in design and development phases, despite of the important data that can gathered when using these methods. Example, the participation of users to the development phases increases significantly the effectiveness and acceptability of interactive systems.

Furthermore, it was also shown that informal assessments conducted by designers, developers, "marketers" and even users do not provide data sufficiently reliable and accurate to increase the ergonomic quality of interactive systems.

Why the evaluation does it not usually part of the design cycle?

Part of the answer lies in the strength of leadership, is not clear what can be brought using ergonomic methods, most of us are convinced that the project managers or developers can design and develop interfaces by themselves and they have nothing to learn from ergonomists.

But another part of the answer is also in attitudes and behaviors of some ergonomists requesting material resources (equipment, procedures, etc.). personal and which go far beyond what is strictly necessary to guide the design. The ergonomic approach appears to be too expensive compared to what it can bring.
  • But two other reasons may explain this situation.
    • The first is very human that people think can explain the determinants of their own behavior. But experience shows us that this is not the case.
    • The second reason is the tendency, that we have, to think that what is good for us is always good for others and to underestimate Interindividual variability!

In other words, when we have no problem with a particular software, the tendency is to think that the others will not and vice versa. Yet research has demonstrated the importance of individual differences are many. Nevertheless, improving the ergonomic quality of interactive systems can not do the methods of behavioral research.


These must be adapted to the field of ergonomics. Indeed, if the behavioral sciences and experimental psychology offer many experimental designs such as factorial designs (discussed in subsequent articles), other methods, more observational and exploratory, may be applied depending on the objectives pursued

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