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Psych 2990 March 25.docx

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Western University
Psychology 2990A/B

Altitude on airplanes: too complex (took 7 seconds to read, misread 12% of the time) B. Design the machine and then "fit" user to the machine. 2 approaches: 1. Select people who fit the machine (eg. if strength is required select a strong person) Problem: not always possible to find people who "fit" the machine. E.g. Women in WW2 weapons factories were not very productive, why? Not smart enough? No. The machines were originally designed to be used by men (taller and stronger) 2. Design the machine then train people to use the machine. E.g. give pilots more training with the altitude displays. - Time and motion studies: train workers to move more efficiently when using machines (eliminate unnecessary movement) Problems: Training was time consuming and expensive to provide, also, machines were becoming so complex and so sophisticated that no amount of training would be effective (they exceeded human capabilities to operate them) C. Design the machine so it fits the user 1. Two early examples that it can be done: - Taylor (1898): changing the design of shovels can increase productivity (p. 229) - The Gilbreths: can increase movement efficiency by redesigning machines and the workplace (p. 229-230); came up with the idea of using scaffolds when laying bricks, also had the idea to put shelves in the fridge doors; put foot pedals on trash cans; have nurses provide surgeons with tools instead of surgeons looking for them 2. Additional examples that designing the machine to fit the user must be done (1980s) a) Technological disasters: - Three Mile island (1979): a nuclear power plant in the US comes very close to a meltdown - Bhopal, India (1984): chemical spill kills 400, injures 200 000 - Chernobyl (1986): Explosion at nuclear power plant kills 300; contaminates millions of acres  What do these all have in common? Human factors were ignored when the technology was designed - The control room at Three Mile Island is extremely complex (google these images), a ton of switches and controls. Complexity is made worse by the poor layout of controls: operator has to reach for controls with support from his hands (other body parts bumping into controls). Operator needs a special ladder to see some of the controls (what if the ladder is in a wrong place at a critical moment? What if the operator falls off the ladder onto the other controls?) b) An increase in product liability and personal injury lawsuits: - Poorly designed products can cause injuries - So products must be designed to be safe (don't change the user; change the product!) c) The development of personal computers: - Originally designed to be "functional", But not "user-friendly" - E.g. command-line interface required learning a new language. E.g, to underline: [Ctl U] word [Ctl U] ~ RTFM (read the fucking manual) - Difficult to learn, easy to make mistakes - The Apple Macintosh approach: Rely on what users are already familiar with - an office environment (desktops, files, folders, trash cans) - Design the computer to match this familiar environment - Today nearly all popular software uses this easy "windows" environment (with a graphi
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