Thursday, January 03, 2008

Cognitive ergonomics

A detailed definition and explanation of cognitive ergonomics ...

"Cognitive Ergonomics, also known as Cognitive Engineering, is an engineering discipline that is concerned with supporting cognitive work.

The aim of the intervention can be the design of an artifact (cognitive design (Dowell and Long 1998)), a training program, or work redesign. Since any human activity—even so-called “physical work”—involves a cognitive part, Cognitive Ergonomics could be said to analyze any purposeful human task. Nevertheless, Cognitive Ergonomics (CE henceforth) mainly focuses on work activities having:

* an emphasized cognitive component (e.g. calculation, decision making)
* safety-critical environments
* operating in a complex, changing environment (i.e. tasks cannot be predetermined)

The first domains investigated by CE were nuclear power plants, air traffic control, and anaesthesia. In recent years many studies have been conducted in other “softer” domains such as banking, office work and leisure activities.

As a field of study CE overlaps with fields such as Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), Human Reliability Analysis (HRA), Safety Engineering, Risk Management. CE's difference from HCI is mainly the broader focus of the analysis to include the worksystem as a whole, as opposed to the user-computer interaction, as well as other factors (organizational, historical etc.) that traditional HCI often avoids to address, and hides under the “context” label instead."    (Continued via Interaction-Design.org)    [Usability Resources]

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