The Art Of Human Centred Design
Have you ever struggled to open a door only to discover that you were pushing when the sign clearly says “PULL” – its not your fault, rather, faulty design. This is called a ‘Norman Door’ and they open into some good lessons for Safety.
One of the most common safety activities is the ‘hazard inspection’ – where somebody wanders around looking at objects trying to imagine what would happen when ‘users’ interact with it. Rarely do we spent time actually watching how they interact with and around it (see A Must Watch Safety and Risk Video ) I admit that it was once my preference to do hazard hunts before work started as it was much easier to get around uninterrupted! We then consult our coloured pyramid and imagine what we could do to modify the object or people’s behaviour, control it and move on. Unfortunately, this simplistic and isolated thinking often results in by-products and risk shifts then more counter controls and so the cycle continues. (see By-products and trade-offs calculator)
This short and quirky video, sent to me by John Wettstein, explains the concept of “Human Centered Design” (HCD) and an interview with Don Norman – the author of “The Psychology of Everyday Things”. The basic concept of HCD is to observe humans (not users) and the way they behave and interact, singularly and socially. Then generate ideas, build prototypes, test them and observe again until it works. (how does that compare with the safety ‘tick n flick? see Tick, flick and forget). Don explains that the key considerations are ‘discoverability’ (intuitive) and ‘feedback’ (learning) and that simple objects that require instructions on how to use them are not well designed (I’m thinking SOPs).
ENJOY (You may also enjoy this one: Safety in Design for Who by Who?)