The Human Factor in Supportability Engineering

Quorum Integrated Logistics Support LTD Human Factors

Many factors contribute toward a successful Integrated Logistic Support/Integrated Product Support (ILS/IPS) strategy. Today, with the help of our Human Factors specialist consultant, Connor, we will highlight why Human Factors Integration (HFI) is so important and why it cannot be overlooked or underestimated, so let’s jump into it.

HFI has to do with making sure that products and systems are built with humans in mind. The goal is to understand human requirements, limitations, and abilities and then apply that information to produce user-friendly, safe, and successful products and systems.

Our HFI professionals work closely with designers, engineers, and other stakeholders to ensure the end product is safe, easy to use, and effective for everyone.

What are the Key Areas of Human Factors Integration?

Ergonomics and anthropometrics are the secret ingredients that make products and systems work better for people. It is critical to consider the physical traits, cognitive capacities, and sensory capabilities of the people who will use the equipment and technology while building it.

Physical Characteristics: For example, whether building military equipment, industrial gear, automobiles, medical devices, or even sports equipment, the design team must consider the intended user’s height and width as well as the size of the user’s limbs.

Cognitive Capabilities: When it comes to systems (mostly the user interface of a product), It is crucial to think about how the system will affect the user’s thinking and decision-making abilities, and trust us, this is one of the most overlooked aspects of HFI.

Sensory Capabilities: Finally, the design team must evaluate how the system sends information to the operator and how the operator responds to that information. This includes factors like hearing, communication, and vision

The Human Machine Interface (HMI) in HFI

Human Machine Interface (HMI) is at the heart of HFI. It is the invisible handshake between the system’s operator and its software. The goal is to develop a design that prioritises human contact over anything else.

The HFI process gets under the hood of the HMI framework, carefully examining and evaluating different categories, including, but not limited to:

Display and Control Technologies: This is the big umbrella that covers everything, for example:

  • Visual Displays (screens and gauges)
  • Auditory Displays (sounds and alarms)
  • Tactile Displays (vibrations and bumps)
  • Olfactory Displays (smells)
  • Motor Controls (levers and buttons)
  • Physiological Controls (eye-tracking and brain-computer interfaces)
  • Verbal Controls (voice recognition)

Our HFI team looks at how each of these pieces interacts with the user, from how the system gives the user a heads-up to how the user responds. We scrutinise and assess every detail.

Information Presentation: HMI’s success can be determined by how it delivers information to the user. The HFI method focuses on essential components of information presentation to ensure that everything is crystal clear and that the user understands the gist, which includes colours, codes, symbols, text, alarms, and alerts. These are all thoroughly scrutinised by Quorum consultants.

Why Training is Crucial in HFI

HFI Training at Quorum ILS LTD

While training is frequently regarded as a separate component of IPS and Supportability Engineering, it is intrinsically tied to HFI, forming a cohesive collaboration between the two, and it encompasses a variety of nuanced features in the interest of Human-Centred Design (HCD).

Comprehensive Understanding of Users, Tasks, and Environments: The foundation of effective training lies in a thorough grasp of the people using the system or product, the tasks they will be performing, and the environments in which these tasks will be done.

User involvement: Incorporating users in design and development can further add to understanding the use context and how users are likely to use the capability. It can also identify aspects of the system use that may be difficult or require further consideration as part of the training design to ensure that they are covered appropriately.

User-Centric Evaluation: Evaluation that focuses on the user yields valuable feedback and insights that contribute to a deeper understanding of the context of use and considerations for training. This step involves soliciting direct input from users, enabling designers to refine and optimise the training approach based on genuine user experiences and preferences.

User Experience: Designing for the whole user experience includes several other aspects that complement the system’s physical design. Given the negative impact that insufficient training has on system adoption and user confidence, maintaining thorough training is critical for fostering efficient and successful system utilisation.

Final Words from Connor

Here is a quote from the great philosopher and Quorum Consultant, Connor:

“Human Factors Integration is the invaluable process of driving design with the Human Element as the key consideration, ensuring a system functions efficiently and effectively with every interaction between the system and the operator, creating a balance between Human and Machine.”

“Human Factors Integration is the invaluable process of driving design with the Human Element as the key consideration, ensuring a system functions efficiently and effectively with every interaction between the system and the operator, creating a balance between Human and Machine.”

Have Any Questions about your Supportability Needs? With us a problem shared is the start of a problem solved.

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