Chapter 1 of WIckens is an introduction to applied psychology and the goals of Human Factors. Where I work, there have been a few software tools acquired to replace the existing systems. These tools are designed for users from a variety of backgrounds and use cases. It is interesting to see how the software through the lens of human factors and HCI.
Our reading states that addressing human factors early can be 2% of the costs of a project versus 5-20% to address issues in response that arise from human interaction issues. Having seen both successful and unsuccessful implementations of new software tools, the 5-20% increased cost may even be a bit conservative. In retrospect, many of the issues could have been resolved by understanding the thought processes of the users, referred to as “selection design” in our reading. Selection takes into account the physical and mental aspects of the user to design better products. The issues we experienced with the software was due to a misunderstanding of how the users would interact with the system, which could also have been mitigated through better training. Despite these issues, the software ultimately increased the performance, safety, and to a lesser extent, the satisfaction of the task when compared to the previous software.
Training is one way to mitigate the risk of users not understanding how to use a complex system but I try to make it my goal when designing interfaces that training is unnecessary by doing usability testing and creating paths that are logical to my users-sometimes this means understanding where they work and how their perceptions are (drastically) different from my own. This may not always be an option for many reasons, but I do believe on site training should be unnecessary for production users if UX is implemented in the software design lifecycle.
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