Forthcoming articles


International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics


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International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics (5 papers in press)


Regular Issues


  • Evaluating usability problems and use errors in ergonomic products comparing analytical methods and usability test   Order a copy of this article
    by Lars-Ola Bligård, Anna-Lisa Osvalder 
    Abstract: In product design it is important to consider presumptive usability problems and use errors. A number of evaluation methods are available, analytical as well as empirical. This study aimed to investigate how well the results from the two analytical methods, Enhanced Cognitive Walkthrough (ECW) and Predictive Use Error Analysis (PUEA), match the results of a usability test. A vacuum cleaner and an office chair were used in the evaluations. The ECW predicted 90% of the usability problems and the PUEA predicted 58% of the use errors that were identified in the usability test. For the ECW, the difference is that the method only investigates the correct way to perform a task, while for the PUEA the difference depends on the chosen user as well as the evaluators creativity in making and predicting errors. To conclude, these methods are valuable tools in early phases of the product development process.
    Keywords: Usability evaluation. usability problem; use error; analytical method; usability test.

  • Ergonomic Assessment and Prevalence of Musculoskeletal Disorders among Washer-men during Carpet Washing: Guidelines to an Affective Sustainability in Workstation Design   Order a copy of this article
    by Ashish Kumar Singh, Makkhan Lal Meena, Himanshu Chaudhary, Govind Sharan Dangayach 
    Abstract: The development of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) is the most common problem among the workers employed in the hand-woven carpet industry working at any stage of production. This study investigates the problems encountered during washing stage in carpet production and establishes the guidelines for ergonomically efficient workstation. Eight workshops were surveyed and the data about pain occurrence at different body and hand regions of male washer-men were collected by questionnaire. Rodger Muscle Fatigue assessment (RMFA) and Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) techniques were used to identify the postural risks during carpet washing. A virtual human model was developed in CATIA to estimate biomechanical forces and moments associated during washing. Most of the participants reported discomfort in different body and hand regions. A significant difference between the physical and physiological factors pre- and post- activity (p<0.05) was reported. RMFA and RULA method revealed that the working posture during carpet washing requires necessary action. As the main outcomes, this study proposes certain workstation guidelines that may reduce the symptoms of MSDs, lead to the improvement in working posture and efficiency of the worker. This study assesses the ergonomic aspects at grass-root level and proposing the insight to develop a better design.
    Keywords: carpet washing; musculoskeletal disorders; physiological factors; ergonomics; Rodger Muscle Fatigue Analysis (RMFA); Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA); Computer-Aided Three-Dimensional Interactive Application (CATIA); biomechanical forces.

  • Personnels perceptions of occupational safety in rail transport work   Order a copy of this article
    by Maria Lindholm, Arto Reiman, Henri Jounila, Seppo Väyrynen, Otso Ervasti, Anna Melleri 
    Abstract: In rail transport work, a wide variety of occupational accidents occur. This questionnaire study aims to investigate the occupational safety (OS) challenges and needs recognised by railway personnel (N = 9,404). Altogether, 1,087 people answered. Answers were categorised thematically, and differences in perceptions between personnel groups and between different business sectors inside the company were identified. Differences between the category distributions were analysed with chi-square tests. Participatory approaches to improve OS emerged from the answers, e.g. attitudes, discussing and training OS. Statistically significant differences e.g. in the above-mentioned themes were found between the groups. The results provide vital information for the company to direct OS actions to the right business sectors. This study shows how personnel can contribute important views and feedback to OS development processes in a new way. The results suggest that more focused OS actions are needed. Guidance for the allocation, prioritisation and scheduling are provided.
    Keywords: rail transport work; railway personnel; perception; occupational safety; employees; management; business sector; participation; participatory approach; idea generation; safety meeting.

  • mHealth in Mental Health: How to efficiently and scientifically create an ambulatory biofeedback e-coaching app for patients with Borderline Personality Disorder.   Order a copy of this article
    by Youri Derks, Tessa De Visser, Matthijs Noordzij 
    Abstract: Many mHealth applications aim to coach users in achieving a healthier, happier life. However, many of these e-coaches lack proper research on its effectiveness or sound background knowledge of its target users. When such e-coaching apps are then picked up and relied upon by vulnerable user groups in need of effective support, such as those with mental health disorders, it could have negative effects. One such target group are patients with a borderline personality disorder (BPD). Patients suffering BPD experience strong difficulties in regulating their emotions. As a consequence these patients frequently engage in self-harming behavior. An important contributor to the difficulties in regulating emotions in BPD is a deficit in the ability to timely recognize emotions often addressed in clinical literature as low emotional awareness or alexithymia. By using a modified UXD-framework, we investigated the need amongst BPD-patients in clinical treatment and their therapists for a scientifically and theoretically informed ambulatory biofeedback e-coaching app with the purpose of coaching patients to better learn recognize changes in the arousal level of their emotions. The study added to the current literature: (1) the insight that although the user needs of both groups regarding the proposed e-coach did converge to a considerable degree, the use of personas in the Strategy and Scope plane made clear some fundamental differences between the therapists and patients as users. (2) A detailed set of requirements for a physiologically based real-time biofeedback tool for psychiatric patients. (3) Detailed personas for both our patients and therapists that can form the basis of other research and design for this particular group.
    Keywords: mHealth; borderline personality disorder; emotional awareness; participatory design; e-coaching.

  • Human-machine interaction and health at work: a Scoping Review   Order a copy of this article
    by Swantje Robelski, Sascha Wischniewski 
    Abstract: Human-machine interaction (HMI) in industrial work processes has been an important topic during the last decades, but the latest technological developments such, as for example, cyber-physical systems and increasingly shorter innovation cycles in this field pose new challenges to the design of human-machine systems and highlight the enduring importance of the subject. This paper presents the main results of a review on human-machine interaction and health at industrial workplaces using the scoping review methodology. The review prepared is based on 102 studies covering aspects of function allocation, interface and interaction design, as well as operation and supervision of systems. Results of the review process and on function allocation, in particular, as an important feature of human-machine interaction are discussed in detail. The results show that mainly aspects of well-being and performance are discussed in literature within the context of function allocation. Furthermore, the scoping review reveals a research need for human-machine interaction and mental health at work as well as a need for more comparable research designs.
    Keywords: Human-machine interaction; function allocation; health; performance; scoping review.