Human factors and ergonomics is a unique scientific discipline that systematically applies the knowledge of human abilities and limitations to the design of systems with the goal of optimizing the interaction between people and other system elements to enhance safety, performance, and satisfaction.
In simpler terms, human factors and ergonomics focuses on designing the world to better accommodate people.
Human factors and ergonomics are relevant anywhere people work within systems, whether they are social or technical in nature. The breadth of these sociotechnical systems includes situations and circumstances where people interact with other system elements including:
- Artifacts (e.g., tools, machines, products, software, etc.)
- Legal (e.g., regulations, enforcement, etc.)
By taking a holistic approach to understanding the interactions between people and the other system elements, it is possible to identify the technological requirements that will best fulfill their needs, thus leading to improved quality and safety. And that, in a nutshell, is what the discipline of human factors and ergonomics seeks to do.