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Human factors in design DET 7-2

Achievement standard 2.11 AS91364

Human factors in design refers to 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. Understanding spatial relationships between people, objects, and their environments is important when considering human factors in design.

Learning objective: DET 7-1

Students will:

  • demonstrate understanding of advanced concepts and techniques related to human factors in design.

Indicators

Students can:

  • explain how statistics and probability are used to establish guiding ratios for anthropometric data and ergonomic aids 
  • explain how anthropometric data, user preference, and ergonomic fit in a product, system, or environment 
  • discuss the relationship between anthropometric data, user preference and ergonomic fit in a product, system, or environment 
  • discuss customisation undertaken to address user preference and obtain ergonomic fit in a product, system, or environment.

Progression

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

At level 7 this should progress to students learning about the relationship between anthropometric data, user preference and ergonomic fit in a product, system or environment; as well as how customisation is undertaken to address personal preference and obtain ergonomic fit.

Teacher guidance

To support students to develop understandings about advanced concepts related to human factors in design at level 7, teachers could:

  • provide opportunities for students to explore the role of statistics and probability in establishing guiding ratios and ergonomic aids 
  • guide students to consider ethical and economic parameters as human factors 
  • support students to explore how socio-cultural considerations impact on personal preference, style and fashion 
  • support students to understand how customisation techniques are used to address user preferences; these include: using dressmaker’s mannequins, patterns, and ergonomes; using data from anthropometric, psychological and sensory data, focus groups and test subjects; using investigation and stimuli to establish personal preferences; and using functional modelling and prototypes 
  • support students to understand the relationships between anthropometric data, user preference, and ergonomic fit across a range of products, systems, and environments 
  • support students to identify the customisation undertaken to address personal preference and obtain ergonomic fit across a range of products, systems, and environments.

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 advanced 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 advanced concepts; it is not essential that students are involved in a design project of their own. Either way, students will investigate the establishment of guiding ratios (for example, percentiles, standardised dress sizing) and anthropometric data for furniture design, their application in the designing of a specific piece of furniture, and how customisation allows for user preference and ergonomic fit.

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.

The concept of customisation is a key step up at this level. Teachers should give students some examples of customisation techniques used in the context they are working in to address user preference and obtain ergonomic fit.

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.
  • Customisation refers to altering to suit individual requirements or specifications.

In addition to this specialist language, students need to understand how to explain and discuss aspects of human factors in design. They also need to be able to demonstrate their understanding in a report in any media. Structuring a report could use the following:

  • Explain how statistics and probability are used to establish guiding ratios for anthropometric data, and how data and ergonomic aids are used.
  • Explain how customisation allows for user preference and enables ergonomic fit.
  • Explain how anthropometric data is gathered and ergonomic aids used when designing a particular outcome.
  • Explain the different anthropometric data and ergonomic aids that should be considered when designing a particular outcome.
  • Discuss the relationship between anthropometric data, personal preference, and ergonomic fit, (with particular reference to your selected outcome).
  • Discuss the customisation undertaken to address user preference and enable ergonomic fit in the selected outcome or design.

Resources to support teaching and learning

Books

  • The Measure of Man and Woman: Human factors in design: 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:

  • AS91364 Generic technology 2.11: Demonstrate understanding of advanced concepts related to human factors in design

Key messages from the standard

This standard is about demonstrating understanding of advanced 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 one 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
  • customisation.

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 are used when designing a technological outcome.

Customisation is a key requirement at this level. Explanatory note 4 gives some examples of customisation techniques used to address user preference and obtain ergonomic fit. These include such things as:

  • using dressmakers mannequins, patterns, and ergonomes
  • using data from anthropometric, psychological and sensory data, focus groups and test subjects
  • using investigation and stimuli to establish user preferences; for example, such things as stimuli–mood boards/materials samples/graphic images/colour samples/taste tests/smell tests
  • using functional modelling and prototypes; for example, making models/scaled models to test with ergonomes/to test size and whether the anthropometric data translates into reality/test for ergonomic fit/sample group reaction to style.

Resources to support student achievement

Last updated June 8, 2018



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