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Human factors in design DET 6-2

Achievement Standard 1.11, AS91054

Human factors in design refer to ergonomic and aesthetic factors that influence the design of products, systems and environments. The use of anthropometric, psychological and sensory data gathering and analysis techniques support these factors. Understanding spatial relationships between people, objects and their environments is important when considering human factors in design.

Learning objective: DET 6-2

Students will:

  • Demonstrate understanding of basic concepts and techniques related to human factors in design

Indicators

Students can:

  • describe the human factors that need to be considered when designing 
products, systems and environments 

  • explain how personal preference, group preferences, style and trends may 
impact on the design of products, systems and/or environments 

  • explain how data gathering and analysis techniques may be used in the 
design of products, systems and environments 

  • discuss why human factors identified for the design of a product, system 
and/or environment need to be considered 

  • discuss the suitability of data gathering and analysis techniques that may be used in the design of a product, system and/or environment. 


Progression

Prior to level 6 students should have explored basic concepts of ergonomics, anthropometrics and the interaction of people with technological outcomes designed for their use.

At level 6 students learn about human factors that need to be considered when designing a product, system or environment.

The Teacher Guidance section provides information that supports teachers scaffolding of learning from levels 1-8 of the curriculum. This allows for differentiation of a programme of learning.

The deliberate use of provide, guide, and support in this section signals that as students' capacity for self-management increases, teachers progressively reduce the level of scaffolding provided.

  • Provide – the teacher should take full responsibility for introducing and explicitly teaching new knowledge, skills or practices.
  • Guide – the students have a level of understanding and competency on which they can draw but the teacher remains primarily responsible for continuing to develop these.
  • Support – the students take primary responsibility for their own learning, drawing on all their previous experiences to consolidate and extend their understanding. The teacher is supportive rather than directive.
  • The Teacher Guidance also uses the term ensure to indicate when the teacher plays a monitoring role to check that conditions critical for learning are present.

Teacher guidance

To support students to develop understandings about basic concepts related to human factors in design, at level 6 teachers could:

  • Guide students to understand human factors that need to be considered 
when designing products, systems and environments 

  • Guide students to understand what the terms personal preference, style, 
and fashion refer to, how they differ from each other and can impact on the 
design of products, systems and environments 

  • Guide students to explore why ergonomics and aesthetics needed to 
be considered in the design of a range of products, systems and/or 
environments 

  • Provide opportunities for students to explore data gathering, including: 
anthropometrics, psychological and sensory data, and analysis techniques that were used inform the design of products, systems and environments. Discuss why they were used and their suitability. 


Contexts for teaching and learning

This learning objective requires students to explore the concepts related to human factors in design. This would normally be in the specified context that the student is working in such as furniture design, fashion design, web design, architectural design, or whatever context in which they are working. It is often helpful for students to find ergonomic/anthropometric research studies and data of the same or similar product type/context and use these findings to support the development of their own design.

There are two possible approaches in that the student explores the design of their own outcome or looks at outcomes designed by others. For example, in a furniture design context, they could be asked to design a piece of furniture for a specific purpose. They would then discuss basic concepts related to human factors within the context of this particular design task. Alternatively, they could examine a product designed by others and discuss the relevant basic concepts; it is not essential that students are involved in a design project of their own.

When exploring human factors in design students need to look at ergonomic and aesthetic factors that influence the design of the outcome. These factors may include but are not limited to the use of anthropometric, psychological (for example such things as the effect of environmental stress, human temperatures extremes, humidity, vibration, noise, light levels), and sensory data gathering and analysis techniques. Teachers should use a range of relevant examples to explore these concepts with their students. Students need to develop an understanding of the spatial relationship between people, objects, and their environments when considering human factors in design. Refer to the resources in the section below for possible ideas. 

Teachers could further support students by:

  • Showing how anthropometric data is collected
  • Showing how other forms of data are gathered; observational / test groups / interviews / high speed cameras /surveys
  • Explaining the difference between static and dynamic data – dynamic is especially useful for spatial contexts
  • Demonstrating how to search, sift and identify key points from existing ergonomic research papers.
  • Encouraging students to design for the mind and not just the body.
  • Encouraging students to physically model their designs to test ergonomics / anthropometrics

Teachers also need to discuss the importance of using data from the right "target population" relative to the specific context for the design development

Literacy considerations

Students will need to develop understanding of the specialist vocabulary associated with human factors in design:

  • Ergonomics is the relationship between people and the products, which they use. Ergonomic means designed for maximum comfort, efficiency, safety, and ease of use in the relevant environment.
  • Aesthetic means designed to look good – to be pleasing in appearance.
  • Anthropometric data is used to help design products to meet ergonomic needs.
  • Anthropometric data gathering means gathering information that consists of comparative measurements of the human body. This type of data is objective, measurable and sometimes codified such as in body size measurements and type.
  • Psychological data gathering means gathering information about people's emotional responses (for example, to a particular design). These are often related to personal preference and are subjective.
  • Sensory data gathering means gathering information about responses based on what the respondent physically sees, hears, smells, tastes, or feels.
  • Guiding ratios are rules of thumb. These ratios are established by statistically comparing anthropometric data of the human body. For example rise and run ratio.
  • Ergonomic aids include but are not limited to: ergonomes, human figure drawing templates, room layout templates.

In addition to this specialist language students need to understand how to describe, explain and discuss aspects of human factors in design.

  • to identify is to state an idea
  • to describe is a statement that gives details about the outcome or idea
  • to explain is to describe in detail with reasons – often including the how and why
  • to discuss requires an explanation that is comprehensive, detailed, and broad and show evidence of some complexity in thinking. It may be a reasoned argument presenting a particular point of view, or a comparison and contrast between two ideas or concepts; or it may be a detailed reasoning and relationship between several complex ideas that are either in a relationship or they may be compared and contrasted

Students will need to learn about basic human factors that need to be considered in the context of a design task. The design may be for a product, a system, or an environment, for example, the students could be asked to design a chair for a specific purpose. Therefore the teaching and learning should focus on

  • human factors used in designing outcomes specific to the student contecxt
  • the data-gathering and data-analysis techniques that are used in planning for the design of the specific outcome

For example,if the context of the learning was design of a chair then students would need to learn how to:

  • Describe the human factors that need to be considered when designing a product or system or environment. This description must be about "when designing" and not just a general description of human factors associated with an existing product, system or environment (for example, "when designing a chair the human factors that need to be considered are...").
  • Explain how personal preference, group preferences, style and trends may impact on the design of a product, system or environment. The student must explain all four aspects and how they may have impacted or influenced a product, system or environment, or how they may impact when designing a product, system or environment.
  • Describe data gathering that may be used when designing a product, system or environment.For example, when designing a chair, the student may describe the anthropometric data gathering technique of measuring the stature of the expected user population. For another product, system or environment, students may describe appropriate psychological or sensory data gathering techniques.
  • Describe analysis techniques that may be used when designing a product, system or environment. For example, students may describe the analytical technique of obtaining percentile ranges to guide adjustability of the seat height.

Resources to support teaching and learning

Books

  • The Measure of Man and Woman: Human factors in design, by Alvin R. Tilley and Henry Dreyfuss Associates (USA, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2002)
  • Anthropometric Methods: Designing to Fit the Human Body (1995) John A. Roebuck, Jr.
  • Universal Methods of Design: 100 Ways to Research Complex Problems, Develop Innovative Ideas, and Design Effective Solutions (2012): Bella Martin &Bruce Hannington
  • Human Dimension and Interior Space: A Source Book of Design Reference Standards (1979) Julius Panero & Martin Zelnik

Website resources:

Assessment for qualifications

The following achievement standard(s) could assess learning outcomes from this learning objective:

  • AS 91054 Generic Technology 1.11: Demonstrate understanding of basic concepts related to human factors in design

Key messages from the standard

This standard is about demonstrating understanding of basic concepts related to human factors in design. Explanatory note 3 states that human factors in design include ergonomic and aesthetic factors that influence the design of products, systems, and environments. In this standard it is expected most students will focus on a named product, system, or environment.

The two key aspects that need to be explored in relation to the selected product, system, or environment are:

  • Use of anthropometric data
  • How these are applied in the development and design of a specific outcome

When exploring the use of anthropometric data it is expected students will look at how this data is gathered and used. Students should be able to explain how statistics and probability are used to establish guiding ratios for anthropometric data, and how this information along with ergonomic aids is used when designing a technological outcome. 

Specific terms to note

  • Human factors include ergonomic and aesthetic factors that influence the design of products, systems and environments. These factors are supported by the use of anthropometric, psychological and sensory data gathering and analysis techniques.
  • Ergonomic means designed for maximum comfort, efficiency, safety, and ease of use in the relevant environment.
  • Aesthetic means designed to look good – to be pleasing in appearance.
  • Anthropometric data gathering means gathering information that consists of comparative measurements of the human body.
  • Psychological data gathering means gathering information about people’s emotional responses (for example, to a particular design).
  • Sensory data gathering means gathering information about responses based on what the respondent physically sees, hears, smells, tastes, or feels.
  • Data analysis techniques are methods of examining existing data (information that has been gathered) that enable it to be used for its intended purpose.

The student evidence should demonstrate understanding by including the following:

  • describing the different human factors that should be considered when designing the specific outcome, explain why they need to be considered, and discuss how they affect this outcome in different contexts, for example, by comparing and contrasting the requirements for different user groups and different environments
  • describing different human factors that impact on design in the chosen scenario and explain why and how the design takes those factors into account
  • explain the impact that the following have on the outcomes design and on the design in one or more other contexts:
  • personal preference and group preferences
  • style and trends (make links to the work of a particular designer or architect)
  • describe two or more data-gathering techniques and two or more analysis techniques (including ways of sorting the information on databases), explain how they are used by designers of the specified outcome and discuss the kinds of information that different techniques provide about the human factors to be considered in design, comparing and contrasting the advantages of specific techniques for informing further design or informing the design of the students own work if this is to be situated in practice

For the most up to date information, teachers should be referring to the latest version of the standards, conditions of assessment and assessment resources on TKI and the moderators reports, clarifications documents and student exemplars on the NZQA website. See links below.

Resources to support student achievement

Assessment resource:

Annotated Exemplars

Last updated May 30, 2018



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