Human Factors Engineering of Computer Workstations

Computer workstation regulated by ANSI/HFES 100-2007There are several major differences that exist between the workplace of today and that of the past. A significant contrast between these two environments is the technology. The utilization of computers has completely changed the necessary process of many tasks, greatly increasing efficiency and productivity. It can be a challenge to successfully design computer workstations that are comfortable and intuitive for human interaction. There is a possibility for confusion with the hardware and physical harm from continuous stresses if computing devices are not designed with human factors in mind. For this issue, there exists ANSI/HFES 100-2007: Human Factors Engineering of Computer Workstations, covering operator-machine interface issues in professional computer workstations.

All people have different abilities and limitations, which can make computer interaction somewhat difficult at times. ANSI/HFES 100-2007 identifies that computer workstation components together should be able to “apprehend the manner or method of using the device”. It standardizes computer workstations in an office setting, restricted to non-portable environments. This standard meets the challenges that arise when a diverse group of people must interact with the same thing. It is meant to facilitate perception, understanding, and operation of any part of the user interface. Its guidelines are set so that they do not limit any unforeseen methods uniquely imagined by the operator that he or she might use to interact with his or her computer workstations. Computers have changed the world, making almost everything more efficient. It is important that most people can use them to their maximum potential.

The focus of ANSI/HFES 100-2007 is not just limited to the computer itself, but includes the ergonomics of several hardware components that work as user interfaces, such as input devices, output devices, and furniture. Although operating a computer allows a worker to complete all tasks related to a job, there can be some issues related to being planted at a computer workstation all day. While it is natural to sit, it is not entirely safe to do so all day long, since it can lead to health problems such as a bad back, strained neck, muscle degeneration, and even heart disease. The standard provides minimum guidelines for furniture to be used in workstations so that it does not harm the worker. While promoting comfort to preserve health, the standard also provides guidelines to enhance the performance of the operator. Business Insider believes standing while working to be the most productive method for office performance. Whether or not this is true can be determined by the user. However, the standard does allow for different methods, covering the proper execution of all work reference points, including reclined sitting, upright sitting, declined sitting, and standing.

Comfort is not just limited to the furniture. The computer keyboard and monitor should be placed at appropriate distances from the worker to prevent damage of his or her eyes and hands, while meeting successful ergonomic recommendations. The standard establishes proper guidelines for placement of the input and output devices on the primary, secondary, and tertiary work zones. All measurements mentioned in the standard are derived from anthropometric data.

ANSI/HFES 100-2007 is a standard by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES), a standards developer detailing the ergonomic design of systems with which humans interact. HFES has also published ANSI/HFES 200-2008: Human Factors Engineering of Software User Interfaces, which provides design recommendations to increase the ease of use of software. Both of these standards allow for proper use of modern technology to increase efficiency and productivity in a workplace setting.

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