Usbility in packagingUsability decides on convenience and attractiveness Packages demonstrate their quality when someone opens it. Many users have already formed an opinion about the packaging and the content by the visual appearance of the packaging. But only by unpacking it turns out how usable the packaging is.
A packaging serving exclusively to protect the contents with high usability is hardly noticed by the user. Because then the packaging provides easily and almost unnoticed access to the content. In addition, a good packaging supports the proper use of the content. When a package is more than the protection for the content, the feelings of the user group decide on the quality of usability. Do users feel anger or displeasure, because the packaging can´t be handled as expected, improving the usability can boost its appeal.
For questions of the usability the man of the target group is in the focus. The ergonomics are interested in all characteristics representing a target group. This could be, for example, age, gender, skills or deficits in physical, sensorial and/or cognitive aspects. Moreover, user in target groups have habits that contribute to the understanding or misunderstanding of handling.
Environment variables affect the sensory perception of the people in the target group. So the ergonomists consider lighting, noise, vibration or professional clothes, which may be important for the use of packaging.
Packaging design for a bone saw blade
The components of a bone saw blade that meets the requirements of sterility.
The ergonomic experts from Friedrichshafen/Germany show the packaging of a bone saw blade from the field of medical packaging. They expose how a package could be designed according to usability points of view and what this means for the user and the packaged product.
The target group for the bone saw blade packaging are surgical assistants and surgeons, a group of persons without cognitive and motor impairment. The prescribed work clothes consisting of gloves, headgear and masks affect the tactile perception and limit the field of view. From the situation in the operating room, where the bone saw blade to be inserted in the saw, two design proposals are derived. These proposals take into account habits and eventually innovative requirements (blade could be used in future surgical robots).
Components of the bone saw blade packaging after an analysis of the operational scenario in the operating room.
Whoever is unpacking a bone saw blade according to this exposed can do this right-handed or left-handed, regardless of the hand´s size. For this operation, focus vision is adequate and the simple pinch grip can be carried out with gloves in accordance with a large opening. The process to remove the saw blade and insert into the saw will run smoothly in a few seconds. The loading of a surgical robot some time before surgery could be considered.
Usability is also important for packaging
In the example, design proposals for improving the usability could be made with the consideration of human activity in the appropriate environment. Further proposals of ergonomists can refer to material properties and the sizes of packaging components. This small practical example shows how rewarding it is to consider the user in the design and so to develop packaging that is liked or used unnoticed. This example can be found in detail at Ergonomic Experts
Ergonomie Markt Edition 2/2014
More Usability creates more added value
Who wants to know what is important to its customers, can approach the topic of usability in a self-test. Imagine a product that you have purchased yourself recently and answer the following questions.
If your answer of one of the questions is "No", the chosen product has probably no optimal usability. A successful usability allows a majority of the users easily to deal with the product. Usability research brings out the intersection in the dialogue between man and machine. Where the expectations of the user matches the conventions used in the product, a smooth, problem-free use is possible that even fun at best. To know its user, to take account of their habits, motivations and characteristics in product development at an early stage can put aside some surprising question for customer service, protect the reputation of the company and reduce development costs.
Marketing determines whether the product appeals to the potential customers. Usability determines whether the product works for the people in the target group. Not each device needs to be operable by the 75-year-old artist. But higher usability means a wider group of users for some highly qualified products. The best examples are our computers, which had advanced from toys for mathematicians to quite usable products.
But who is responsible that products achieve the above-described multi values? Who is blamed for lack of usability? Generally, product developers are considered in charge because often the "common sense" of the product developer is also responsible for the usability though developers already work through a huge range of functions. They do the usability by the way yet.
But people are not necessarily familiar with human just because they belong to the same species. Individual assessments and priorities (e.g. the people in the development departments) are not transferable to specific characteristics and experiences of persons of a particular group. The user is a person willing to experiment whose sensory impressions work depending on age and experiences. With well-rehearsed movements and behavior routines one has certain expectations of how something can work and should be.
Experts for usability are the ergonomists. Based on the knowledge of the natural sciences and psychology, the goal of ergonomics is to provide for humans optimum working conditions and work processes, and to contribute to safe, reliable and suitable products The non-profit association "ergonomics competence network" (ECN) has set itself the task of bringing closer this issue to a wider audience and to build a bridge between science and practice. A platform to achieve this objective is the annual congress of the ECN, which took place on 3 and 4 April 2014 in Friedrichshafen this year. About the Issues the ergonomics market informs in this edition.
Dipl.-Verwiss. (translated as M.A.) Christina Koehler,
Ergonomie Markt Edition 3/2014
Ergonomic Office Chairs
Ergonomic features in the current discussion
When you are going to buy an office chair for yourself or others you are facing a challenge. Which chair features make prolonged sitting on a chair bearable or even enjoyable? What is it – the ergonomically correct sitting? Can I rely on others to know how to sit properly or is it better to make my own decision? The list of questions from willing buyers is long. One can competent select from the wide range of chairs, who finds out for himself what ergonomic demands to fulfill his chair.
Office swivel chairs differ primarily in the design, mechanics and price. The ergonomics is determined in the field of mechanics. Which technique, what kind of seating, a sedentary activity can be performed over a long period with low stress, back-friendly or even successfully, is the subject of ergonomic seating. With the newer, technological developments, it is not just about to get through the workday non-harm or non-pain, but also to performance-enhancing seats. Man should stay mentally active and vital in his sedentary work. The range of mechanics is wide. It ranges from the classic synchronous mechanism to seats movable like an exercise ball.
But before thinking about dynamic features it is advisable to focus on the basics. A chair is usable for you when options for seat height, seat depth, backrest and armrests are paying attention to your individual body measurements. Probably most users have set the height of their chair and may change this from time to time, other adaptation options for the convenience are often underestimated. So can well adjusted armrests represent great relief for the neck and shoulder area. An adjustable seat depth and seat angle can determine whether an existing backrest can be used whether the seated is sitting on the intended focus and whether blood stasis lead to discomfort in the legs. In particular, the adjustability of seat depth and seat angle is not self-evident, since many chair design complicates the integration of these features.
The different requirements people have e.g. on the seat depth illustrate numbers from the DIN 33402. If a chair should suit for 90% of all Germans between 16-60 years in the seat depth, it should be adjustable from 42.6 cm to 55.2 cm. Some manufacturers address this challenge by offering models for people tending to be larger or smaller.
Skeleton and Muscular System
Do the body measurements match to the chair, the question arises how active you want to sit. Consistently in scientific treatises on the subject of "sitting" to read that static postures for an extended period leads to negative effects on muscular and skeletal system. So at least ergonomic chairs offer the possiblity of changing postures or even encourage alternating posture. In dynamic seats the spine moves and static postures can be avoided. Meanwhile, a number of mechanisms have been developed that promote dynamic sitting in different ways and also call for body activity while sitting. Dynamic sitting in two directions provide synchronizing mechanisms that are available in many different forms.
Some manufacturers count on scientists, physicians and physical therapists knowing how people should sit. Others offer their customers simply the greatest possible freedom of movement. Some expect the customers themselves know what is good for them and give freedom to sit dynamic or not by offering a locking feature for moveable parts.
An even higher level of ergonomics to achieve techniques that positively affect the brain and may contribute to higher levels of performance. Higher performance is not meant only by the absence of pain and absenteeism, but by example longer concentration times. Continuous movement should give the brain positive stimuli helping to improve performance. 3D techniques, offering an all-round mobility of the seat and giving maybe additionally more leeway in the vertical, are the dynamics that want to prove themselves on the field.
Is a chair on the stage of basic ergonomics fit and additionally offers dynamic components, the usability can furthermore be an extra selection criterion. How difficult or easy is it to adjust the chair? Is it necessary to consult a manual for the first setting? The more information is processed, the more adjustments must be made, the more likely errors slip into the settings. In everyday life the ease of use often determines whether users change settings and adjust their chair properly. Meanwhile, some chair components can also set itself, such as a flexible seat tilting to pressure.
Especially for new users of dynamic seating it might be important that the dynamic component can be locked and so the user can choose between dynamic and stable sitting by an easily accessible switch. The variety of dynamic techniques exposing a different seat feeling is broad. Folks often have difficulties to make the right choice after the first seating. Therefore, some manufacturers offer the opportunity to test the chair for some time.
Ergonomics and Prices
Are office chairs with ergonomic features still affordable? Is an ergonomic chair more expensive? At the consulting company Lean Concept (http://www.black-belt-consulting.de/) has been performed a corresponding price analysis. 40 chair models from different vendors have been filed. It was questioned which mechanics the chair has, how much it costs and how it takes into account individual body measurements.
The result was positive for the consumer. Overall, a reasonable pricing of chair suppliers in Germany could be observed. Office chairs in the lowest price segment (below 200 €) take into account a portion of the first stage of ergonomics. Normally an office chair in the seat height is adjustable. Lack of ergonomic features lead to a recommended short usage time. In the mid-price segment between 200 and 500 € office chairs tend to result in higher prices for offering more possibilities to adjust the chair considering individual requirements. Synchronizing mechanisms providing freedom of movement while sitting are offered in many variants, to have from 100 €.
Newer "dynamic" techniques, in particular 3D techniques are available in models from 400 €. The 3D technology itself doesn’t cost more necessarily. In the high priced chairs over 500 € also design and upholstery fabric (e.g. leather) were found to be important criteria in pricing.