Our ergonomics services are intended to help ensure that people can interact, benefit from and perhaps even enjoy the things they do, the stuff they use, and the places they go. This can be achieved by properly understanding user needs, capabilities and aspirations and then making sure they are met by the provision around them.
Of course, all of this has to be in the context of satisfying the others in the loop... businesses need to be viable, designers need to create products that people want, retailers need to sell goods, and Government departments need to meet their targets.
Read below to find out about some of the more common services and techniques that we are called to use as part of helping clients achieve these goals.
An increasing understanding of the need and rights of those with disabilities has led to standards and legislation which place duties on organisations to make accessible provision for users. Despite the best of intentions, in many cases, we find that clients are unsure or confused about their responsibilities and we are asked to assess or audit their provision and help them prioritise their efforts so that hidden disabilities are given due attention as well as the more obvious impairments of mobility, vision and hearing.
We provide a full range of proactive, dynamic and reactive ergonomics support to those involved in the design or products, equipment and buildings. This can include the sourcing and supply of human factors data and information, expert comment and input throughout the design cycle, evaluation of mock-ups and prototypes and formal validation of usability.
We are increasingly requested to facilitate focus groups for clients such as Department for Transport and NHS to help them learn more about the information and services they offer to the public and the equipment and facilities they provide for staff. If required, we are able to arrange representative participants and host events in addition to facilitating and reporting on focus and discussion groups.
Designs can look good on paper and sometimes even better on the computer screen, but even using the best available data about human sizes and abilities does not guarantee that things will fit or be best placed to make the designs successful when built and installed. Kit fit, or fitting trials, offer a practical, hands-on means of testing a design to ensure it will accommodate all those who should use it. We have used this technique to help the likes of Boots, Jobcentre Plus and Tesco to create counters, kiosks and checkouts.
Inclusive design has the goal of creating products and environments for everyone, regardless of age, gender or circumstance. Behind this aspiration are the demands of the ageing population and disability legislation. Inclusivity can only be achieved through an accurate understanding of human characteristics, so the ergonomist is central to the process. We have worked alongside academics, designers and Government departments to help them in their quest to design for all.
Ergonomics has been around for over half-a-century and a wealth of experimentation, investigation and research has built up a body of knowledge which can be drawn upon to inform projects so that they do not need to reinvent the wheel. Through our academic and Government links we have access to extensive literature search resources, including experienced Information Officers.
Posture and Movement Analysis
Aches, pains, discomfort and injury are unfortunately commonplace in today’s industrial and commercial environments. We are often called in to identify causal factors and identify improvement measures to help manage conditions and prevent future problems. For groups of people in particular work areas or performing specific tasks this is usually achieved by a mixture of direct observation, interview, survey, video analysis and physical measurement. The service is also requested on a regular basis for individual cases, when a more streamlined approach is adopted.
We offer ergonomics courses and modules and can provide bespoke, tailored training for organisations. We have run courses for a wide range of clients, including:
½ day ‘Postural Ergonomics’ courses for manufacturing staff.
• Birmingham University
5 day ‘Ergonomics for Railways’ courses for postgraduate students.
• Department for Work and Pensions
5 day ‘Introduction to Ergonomics’ courses for Occupational Psychologists.
When a design is fit for purpose it should enable people to interact successfully with it, without risk of error, injury or dissatisfaction. In other words, it contributes positively to equipment, software or product success. If the design is not fit for purpose the opposite can occur and may ultimately lead to the product being abandoned (unused) or certainly underused as a consequence of its apparent inefficiency, difficulty or risk. We offer usability testing in a variety of ways from preliminary feedback of design concepts through to pilot trials and implementation reviews. As with our other services, we can arrange representative participants and host events if trials are better conducted off-site or in laboratory conditions.
It’s one thing to ask a person if they like something or what they would improve, but it’s something entirely more meaningful to run user trials to establish how user opinions can be converted into specific evaluation of design criteria. We conduct user trials to appraise buildings, products, and software.
The Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors
The UK’s professional body, The Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors (formerly The Ergonomics Society), has this to say about ergonomics: “Most people have heard of ergonomics and think it is something to do with seating or with the design of car controls and instruments. It is... but it is much more! Ergonomics is the application of scientific information concerning humans to the design of objects, systems and environment for human use. Ergonomics comes into everything which involves people. Work systems, sports and leisure, health and safety should all embody ergonomics principles if well designed”. David Hitchcock Limited is a Registered Consultancy of The Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors.
David Hitchcock is also a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health.
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David Hitchcock Limited is a private limited company,
registered in England and Wales, registered no. 5814975