Human Factors Engineering
Everyone knows that almost any system depends on the people within it. Whether itís a telephone call center, a hospital, a military unit, or a teacher in a classroom, success depends on how well the job, equipment, and people match what the rest of the system needs from them.
Since 1984, the MA&D Operation has been changing the face of human factors and ergonomics. Through the development of many innovative tools for human-systems engineering, we have increased the strength and credibility of the analyses that human factors and ergonomic specialists are able to perform. Through the application of these tools, as well as more traditional ergonomic design tools, we have also ensured that our customersí systems are designed for the user, whether the user is an assembly worker in a factory or a child at home using a new computer program.
We bring technologies, innovation, and a unique expertise to ensure the proper fit between the human and the system.
Look and Feel
Graphical User Interface (GUI) Design
Interface Standards Development
Software Rapid Prototyping
Control and Display Layout
Human Error/Reliability Analysis
Workload Measurement and Prediction
Performance Under Extended Work Schedules
Impact of Stressors on Human Performance
Manpower Requirements and Analysis
Human Performance Modeling and Simulation
Design and Analysis of Procedures
Cognitive Task Analysis
Training System Analysis and Evaluation
Decision Focused Training
If you are interested in a list of references and a capabilities brochure please send an email to: MAAD_info@alionscience.com.
The MA&D Operation provides expert consulting services in the design and evaluation of interactive software products, such as web-sites and commercial software products. We put the most important person - the customer - at the center of our user-centered design process to make sure that your product meets their needs. We combine the latest in user-centered design methods and tools with an experienced and well trained staff to ensure that the software can be learned quickly and used efficiently. And, we know how to do this as a part of a software design team, which ensures that our approach to ensuring usability fits within your approach to designing and developing software.
Design and Testing User-Computer Interfaces
Ultimately, the success of a user-computer interface depends on adhering to a few basic principles including:
- Designing the system around the needs of the target users
- Evaluating the system from the userís point of view, not the designers or developers, and
- Leaving the time and resources to change the system based on user feedback.
These principles have led us to a design approach that includes the following steps:
- Define goals of the system and its interface along with measures of success
- Understand the tasks required from the userís perspective
- Develop architecture and interface standards that reflect the needs of the users and successes of the past, but modify standards as the need becomes apparent
- Prototype early with details of screen flow and response alternatives embedded into the prototype
- Test with users at every opportunity and measure success with respect to system goals as well as direct measures of interface success (e.g., time to navigate, errors)
- Modify the design and plan time for iterations
We have consistently found that the greater that we can work within the design philosophy above, the greater the likelihood that the user-computer interface will be effective, efficient, and appreciated by the users.
To support this philosophy, we employ a full range of tools and techniques including
- Defining the target users
- Analyzing the user tasks
- Prototyping the user-interface including screen design and behavior
- Testing the usability by videotaping, building embedded software for user data collection, observation, and/or administering questionnaires to test users
Using these tools, human factors staff have supported other companies in the following areas over the last fifteen years:
- Graphical User Interface (GUI) design
- Usability testing
- Software rapid prototyping
- The design and analysis of procedures
- Function/task analysis
- Interface standards development
- Human error and human reliability analysis
- Workload measurement and prediction
- Performance under extended work schedules
- Training systems analysis, design, and evaluation
- Manpower requirements and analysis
- Control/display layout
Workstation Ergonomics ó Ensuring a proper physical fit
Ensuring that a workplace is properly designed will not only improve the safety record of your organization but can also improve the productivity of your workforce. Often, the changes that are needed are not expensive but can be achieved through simple changes in work practices or through the purchase of inexpensive tools and other job aids.
The MA&D Operation provides expertise, experience, and a systematic approach for addressing workstation ergonomics issues in industry. We offer the following four-step approach that either we can perform or assist your organization in performing:
- Analyze the problem
- Develop solutions
- Evaluate cost/benefit trade-offs
- Implement the solutions and verify the results
We apply the principles in a way that appreciates the cost of implementation as well as the benefits ó again, a true systems approach to human factors.