ERG140 | 03/18 - 05/12/2024 | Human-Centered Design

March 18 - May 12, 2024 (Online)

This 8-week, asynchronous online course will focus on the role of Human Factors & Ergonomics (HF/Ergo) in the design of occupational tasks and consumer products. The first two weeks will introduce you to the design cycle and the concepts of User Experience and Human-Computer Interaction. We will then define human characteristics and variability through a detailed examination of anthropometry, as this is essential for human-centered design. We will follow this with two weeks on the relevant factors to consider when designing manual materials handling tasks, patient lifting in healthcare, manual upper extremity tasks, power tools and hand-held products. Next, you will learn to perform a cost-benefit analysis of ergonomic design changes (or various proactive design options) and the factors to consider when designing an office environment & computer workstation. The last week will introduce the various engineering methods used to optimize workplace design and show how ergonomics compliments that process using work simulation, digital human modelling software and virtual/augmented reality technology. Learners will gain practical experience evaluating product design and performing anthropometric measurements and calculations.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this activity, the learner will be able to:

  • Explain the design process and cycle and how it can be applied to optimal product and work design

  • Describe the principles of effective design for user experience (UX) and human computer interaction (HC)

  • Discuss human variability and understand the use of standard anthropometric data to design for a predetermined population range

  • Recommend optimal designs for occupational tasks involving manual materials & patient handling, manual upper extremity demand, manual & power tools, and office environments

  • Identify the most current options available for occupational task design, including collaborative robots and exoskeletons

  • Perform calculations to establish the return on investment of both proactive and reactive designs

  • Recognize the methods used for engineering design optimization, including scientific management, failure modes & effects analysis, constant improvement, six sigma, lean manufacturing, and just-in-time delivery

  • Review the most current technology being used in HF/E to proactively design occupational tasks and evaluate new products including work simulation, digital human modelling software and virtual/augmented reality technology

Headshot of Jim Potvin, PhD, CCPE

Instructor: Jim Potvin, PhD, CCPE

Dr. Potvin received a B.H.K. in Kinesiology from the University of Windsor (1986) and a M.Sc. (1988) and Ph.D. (1992) in biomechanics from the University of Waterloo. He was a professor for 24 years at the University of Guelph, University of Windsor and McMaster University, where is he now a Professor Emeritus. He is also the owner of Potvin Biomechanics Inc. Jim conducts research in the areas of biomechanics and physical ergonomics. His basic research focuses on the study of joint mechanics and muscle fatigue and his applied research focuses on developing valid ergonomic methods to quantify injury risk in the workplace; including the assessment of manual materials handling tasks and the evaluation of risk of upper limb disorders. Jim has supervised >70 graduate students, employed >60 graduates and published >90 scientific articles.