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human factors and psychology stuff for anyone interested in making things easier, safer and more enjoyable to use
In this paper, we provide an analysis of the event, highlighting fundamental human and system errors that occurred that night: errors that contributed to the worst midair collision in recent history
This is an excellent summary of the key issues to be learned from this disaster. There has been a number of changes to Eurpoean air traffic operations to try to address these issues, but as usual the human related issues are (arguably) the hardest to deal with.
The report suggests that a number of system and human 'errors' combined to produce the midair collision. Some of the key human factors issues highlighted are:
- issues surrounding divided attention
- trust in automation
- decision making in time pressured situations
When I get more time, I'll expand on these and bring you a little more insight into the complexity surrounding each issue.
Full 4 page report
Orignial news reports of the crash
“Driving long distances is one of the worst things you can do to your body,” says Brian McIlwraith, an osteopath who specialises in car ergonomics. “There’s a tendency for you to be forced into a slumped position, so your back is bent, putting pressure on the hips, lower back and intervertebral discs.
The best car ergonomics according to the Times artcile are:
young and old – struggled to see dangerous scenarios appearing in front of them.The problem with talking and listening using a hands-free phone, according to Donald Norman a well respected cognitive scientist and human-centred design visionary, is to do with the demands placed upon the driver to be in two different places
When you are on a telephone call, you are doing a very special sort of activity, for you are a part of two different spaces, one where you are located physically, the other a mental space, the private location within your mind where you interact with the person on the other end of the conversation. This mental partitioning of space is a very special facility and it makes the telephone conversation, unlike other joint activities, demanding a special kind of mental concentration.Norman goes on to suggest:
The part of driving that suffers is the reflective oversight, the planning, the ability to anticipate the actions of other drivers and any special conditions of the environment. That you can still appear to drive normally blinds you to the fact that the driving is less skillful, less able to cope with unexpected situations. Thus, the driving becomes dangerous, the cause being that distracting mental space.Seeing as drivers in the UK appear to be ignoring the law against hand held use, I wonder how long it will be before we see a full ban on driving using mobile phones actually working. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping a keen eye on the causes cited in the road accident statistics.
When I finally get around to remodelling my kitchen, I'm looking forward to applying some good ergonomics principles to the layout and positioning of work spaces and utilities, because my current layout drives me nuts. The sink is too low for me, the cupboards are too high for my girlfriend and the movement between the cooker, sink, and fridge is cumbersome, especially when the cat sits in the middle of the floor.
I found this article earlier and thought it might be useful for anyone brave enough to start designing a new kitchen. Although fairly short and sweet, there are some good nuggets of information in it:
"taller people (5'- 5" and above) would feel comfortable working with a 10" deep sink, smaller persons (5'- 0") could be at greater ease with 8" deep sinks"
When you think of Microsoft's relationship with its users, its easy to think of a money grabbing, uncaring relationship. But there are times, although not many, when they really do try to do something nice. Ahhh
Here's a pretty good simple guide to workstation ergonomics, with some pretty good tips for maintaining a healthy workstation
More of the same please Mr Gates