03/21 - 05/13/2022: Human-Centered Design (ERG140)

March 21 - May 13, 2022 (Online)

This course will focus on the role of Human Factors and Ergonomics (HF/E) in the design of occupational tasks and consumer product design, especially for handheld devices. The first two weeks will introduce you to the design cycle, user experience (UX), and human computer interaction (HCI). We will then define human characteristics and variability through a detailed examination of anthropometry, as this is essential for human-centered design. The next two weeks will outline specific factors to consider when designing manual materials handling tasks, patient lifting in healthcare, manual upper extremity tasks, power tools, and handheld products. You will also explore methods to assess the cost-benefit of ergonomic design changes and various proactive design options, and will provide a detailed explanation of factors to consider when designing an office environment and computer workstation. Finally, you will consider engineering methods used to optimize workplace design and determine how to successfully inject ergonomics into the process. This course will include a review of the most current work simulation, digital human model software, and virtual/augmented reality technology being used by larger companies to proactively optimize worker safety and productivity. You will also gain experience in evaluating poorly designed products and performing anthropometric measurements and calculations. The course will conclude with a project to evaluate and optimally redesign a real occupational task using the concepts and information presented in this course.

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 work and product 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 23 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. Dr. Potvin researches 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 over 70 graduate students, employed 60 graduates, and published over 90 scientific articles.