WHAT IS HUMAN FACTORS?
Human factors can be described as the scientific study and practice of applying knowledge about people to the design and evaluation of products, systems, services and environments.
Human factors, or ergonomics, as it is sometimes called, first became popular during the 1940s, when the aviation industry discovered pilots could perform better if their cockpits were designed better. Since then it has developed into being a vital contributor in many different industries.
In essence, human factors is about ensuring that the items we use match our capabilities, needs and limitations. It covers our physical requirements (e.g. can we reach the control from our normal sitting position?) and cognitive requirements (e.g. can I easily understand the website’s page structure?).
Both the physical and cognitive aspects contribute to the usability of a system. A system’s usability is a measure of its effectiveness to do its job, its efficiency, tolerance to errors, learnability and user satisfaction.