Ergonomics is not only good for people, it’s good for business. It can increase revenues, decrease costs and results in a better and more user-friendly end product – three things you’ll want to check off when investing in product development.
Ergonomics is important in all products that are to be handled or operated by a user. Unfortunately, it’s also a quality that’s often taken for granted, and it’s most easily noticed when absent.
Neglecting to prioritize ergonomics in the design process due to commercial constraints or time pressures may have consequences once the product goes to market. Because in the end, if the product doesn’t perform well in the hands of the user, it’s not likely to perform well in the market etiher.
What is the value of good ergonomics?
A better working environment, higher productivity, prevention of musculoskeletal disorders, reduction of absenteeism, and a better user experience are just some of the ROIs of proper ergonomics.
In other words, employees will be less frustrated and fatigued, and this will lead to higher job satisfaction and better job performance. At the same time, a focus on ergonomics can help differentiate the product. Now that’s what we call a win-win situation.
Ergonomics needs to be integrated into the product
The idea is to fit the environment to the user, and not the other way around. The goal is to ensure the optimal fit between people and product. And how do you achieve that? You make sure ergonomics is integrated into the design process.
You have to consider ergonomics from a physical, pshychological and organizational point of view. This includes asking questions such as: are there repetitive movements connected to the device? Is the employee affected by stress, and what is the mental workload? Does using the device require cooperation or communication between employees? Considering these three main areas is a good place to start.
Three examples of great ergonomics:
Attention has worked with ensuring optimal ergonomics in products for many years. For example, for the task of creating an ergonomically safe work station for dentists, Attention helped create a design for XO Care with individually adjustable features. This allowed better control and precision for the dentist and thereby also a more pleasant experience for the patient.
Attention also helped design the Nilfisk VP600, a robust commercial vacuum cleaner. The design team created a solution that was engineered to reduce strain on the user’s body in terms of maneuvering and bending over, after studying how cleaning staff used the machine. To improve the ergonomics, they created a modular system that made it quick and easy to replace various components.
Another design that was drastically improved with Attention’s help was BROEN’s Ballofix handle. The handle was designed to be durable, distinct and easy and intuitive to operate, and the end result was a product with user-friendly indicators and great ergonomics.
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