HFS219 Human Factors Methods SUSS Assignment Sample Singapore
HFS219 Human Factors Methods is a course offered by the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). This course is designed to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the human factors methods and their application in various industries. Human factors refer to the study of how people interact with systems, products, and environments, and how these interactions can affect performance, safety, and well-being. Human factors methods are used to design products, processes, and systems that are easy to use, efficient, and safe.
In this course, you will learn about various human factors methods such as usability testing, cognitive walkthroughs, and heuristic evaluations. You will also learn how to apply these methods in various contexts such as product design, software development, and healthcare. By the end of this course, you will have a solid understanding of the human factors principles and methods and their practical applications. You will also have the skills and knowledge necessary to evaluate and design systems that are user-friendly, efficient, and safe.
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Here, we will discuss some assignment objectives. These are:
Assignment Objective 1: Define key principles of human factors methodology.
Human factors methodology is a field that focuses on designing systems, products, and processes to optimize their usability, safety, and efficiency for human use. There are several key principles of human factors methodology that help ensure that the design of these systems meets the needs of the people who will be using them. These principles include:
- User-centered design: This principle emphasizes designing products and systems that are tailored to the needs, abilities, and limitations of the users. It involves involving users in the design process, understanding their goals and tasks, and creating designs that are intuitive, easy to use, and error-free.
- Task analysis: Task analysis involves identifying the steps and actions required to complete a task and understanding the cognitive and physical demands of those tasks. This analysis helps designers identify potential problems and inefficiencies in the design and make improvements to enhance usability.
- Consistency and standardization: Consistency and standardization in design ensure that users can easily understand and navigate different products and systems. This involves adhering to established design standards and conventions and maintaining consistency in the placement of controls, labels, and other design elements.
- Feedback and error prevention: Feedback and error prevention are crucial in human factors methodology. Designers should provide clear and timely feedback to users to help them understand the impact of their actions and prevent errors. The design should also be optimized to reduce the likelihood of user errors and make it easy to recover from mistakes.
- Usability testing: Usability testing involves testing the design with representative users to identify any issues or problems that may impact usability. This testing can be conducted through observations, interviews, or surveys and can help designers make informed decisions about design changes.
Overall, the key principles of human factors methodology prioritize the needs of the user and aim to create designs that are safe, efficient, and easy to use.
Assignment objective 2: Discuss experimental design in human factors research.
Experimental design is an essential component of human factors research that allows researchers to systematically investigate the effects of different variables on human performance, behavior, and experience. In this type of research, participants are typically exposed to controlled stimuli or interventions, and their responses are measured and analyzed using statistical methods to determine the significance of the effects.
There are several types of experimental designs commonly used in human factors research, each with its advantages and limitations. Here are some of the most common types of experimental designs used in human factors research:
- Between-subjects design: In this design, different groups of participants are exposed to different conditions or treatments. For example, one group may be presented with a new user interface design, while another group uses the old design. The performance of the two groups is then compared to determine if the new design is better than the old design.
- Within-subjects design: In this design, each participant is exposed to all conditions or treatments. For example, participants may be asked to complete a task with the old user interface design and then with the new design. The order in which the participants experience the conditions is typically counterbalanced to minimize order effects.
- Mixed design: This design combines both between-subjects and within-subjects factors. For example, some participants may be exposed to one treatment condition, while others are exposed to a different condition. Within each group, participants are exposed to multiple conditions.
- Quasi-experimental design: In this design, there is no random assignment of participants to conditions. This design is often used when random assignment is not possible or practical, such as when comparing the performance of experienced and novice users.
- Single-case design: This design is used when only one participant is available, and it involves measuring the participant’s behavior repeatedly over time in different conditions. The participant serves as his or her own control.
Regardless of the experimental design used, it is essential to consider several factors when designing and conducting human factors research. For example, researchers must ensure that the study has sufficient statistical power to detect significant effects, select appropriate dependent and independent variables, and control for extraneous variables that could influence the results.
Assignment Objective 3: Explain the various methods applicable to different scenarios encountered in human factors studies.
Human factors studies aim to understand how people interact with systems, tools, products, and environments to identify potential sources of errors or inefficiencies and to optimize design for better human performance and user experience. There are various methods applicable to different scenarios encountered in human factors studies. Here are some of the commonly used methods:
- Observational methods: This method involves observing people in their natural environment or while performing a task to gain insights into their behavior, decision-making processes, and preferences. Observational methods include field observations, usability testing, focus groups, and cognitive walkthroughs.
- Survey methods: This method involves collecting data through questionnaires or surveys to understand user preferences, attitudes, and opinions about a product or service. Survey methods include questionnaires, interviews, and online surveys.
- Experimental methods: This method involves manipulating variables in a controlled environment to test hypotheses and determine cause-and-effect relationships. Experimental methods include controlled experiments, quasi-experiments, and randomized controlled trials.
- Modeling and simulation methods: This method involves creating models or simulations of systems or processes to evaluate the impact of different design options on human performance and user experience. Modeling and simulation methods include mathematical modeling, computer simulations, and virtual reality simulations.
- Ergonomic assessment methods: This method involves evaluating the physical characteristics of a workplace or product design to identify potential sources of discomfort, pain, or injury. Ergonomic assessment methods include task analysis, posture analysis, and biomechanical assessments.
- Human error analysis methods: This method involves analyzing incidents or accidents to identify the underlying causes of human error and to develop strategies for error prevention. Human error analysis methods include root cause analysis, fault tree analysis, and human reliability analysis.
Each method has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the choice of method depends on the research question, the nature of the system being studied, and the available resources. A combination of methods is often used to gain a comprehensive understanding of human factors issues and to inform design decisions.
Assignment Objective 4: Examine the tools used for data collection for conducting human factor investigations or studies.
Human factor investigations or studies require careful collection and analysis of data to gain insights into human behavior, performance, and interactions with technology or systems. Here are some tools that can be used for data collection in human factor investigations:
- Surveys and Questionnaires: Surveys and questionnaires are commonly used tools for collecting subjective data from participants. They can be administered in person, online, or through other means such as email or phone. Surveys and questionnaires can provide valuable insights into user preferences, attitudes, and behaviors.
- Interviews: Interviews are another useful tool for collecting qualitative data from participants. They can be conducted in person, over the phone, or through video conferencing. Interviews can provide more in-depth information than surveys and questionnaires, and can be useful for exploring complex issues and understanding the reasoning behind user behaviors.
- Observation: Observation involves watching and recording the actions of users in their natural environment. This can be done through video or audio recordings, or by trained observers taking notes. Observation can provide valuable insights into how users interact with technology or systems, and can be useful for identifying problems and areas for improvement.
- Task Analysis: Task analysis involves breaking down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable steps, and then observing or asking users to perform those steps. Task analysis can provide insights into how users approach tasks, identify areas where users may struggle, and help designers or developers create more user-friendly systems.
- Biometric Measures: Biometric measures, such as heart rate, pupil dilation, and skin conductance, can provide objective data about user physiological responses to stimuli. Biometric measures can be useful for understanding user emotions, stress levels, and cognitive workload.
- Log Data: Log data, such as user activity logs or system logs, can provide objective data about how users interact with technology or systems. Log data can be useful for identifying usage patterns, detecting errors or anomalies, and improving system performance.
- Focus Groups: Focus groups involve bringing together a group of users to discuss their experiences with technology or systems. Focus groups can provide valuable insights into user attitudes, preferences, and behaviors, and can be useful for identifying problems and opportunities for improvement.
Overall, the selection of data collection tools for human factor investigations depends on the research questions, study design, and available resources. Researchers may use a combination of these tools to collect both qualitative and quantitative data to gain a comprehensive understanding of user behavior and performance.
Assignment Objective 5: Illustrate appropriate methods that address problems in real world scenario.
There are many different methods that can be used to address problems in real-world scenarios, depending on the nature of the problem, the available resources, and the desired outcome. Here are a few examples:
- Root Cause Analysis: This is a method used to identify the underlying causes of a problem by asking “why?” multiple times until the root cause is identified. Once the root cause is identified, appropriate solutions can be developed to address the problem.
- Lean Six Sigma: This is a methodology that combines lean manufacturing principles with Six Sigma statistical analysis to improve processes and reduce waste. It involves analyzing processes, identifying inefficiencies, and developing solutions to streamline processes and reduce waste.
- Design Thinking: This is a problem-solving approach that emphasizes empathy for users, creative thinking, and prototyping. It involves identifying user needs, brainstorming solutions, and iterating on prototypes until a solution is developed that meets user needs.
- Agile Project Management: This is an iterative project management methodology that emphasizes collaboration, flexibility, and continuous improvement. It involves breaking down large projects into smaller, manageable tasks, and iterating on those tasks in short sprints.
- Conflict Resolution: This is a method used to resolve conflicts between individuals or groups. It involves identifying the underlying causes of the conflict, finding common ground, and developing a mutually acceptable solution.
- Risk Management: This is a method used to identify potential risks to a project or organization and develop strategies to mitigate those risks. It involves identifying potential risks, analyzing the likelihood and impact of each risk, and developing a plan to minimize the impact of those risks.
- Decision Analysis: This is a method used to make complex decisions by breaking them down into smaller, manageable parts. It involves identifying the objectives of the decision, gathering relevant data, and evaluating different options based on criteria such as cost, risk, and potential impact.
These are just a few examples of methods that can be used to address problems in real-world scenarios. The key is to choose the method that is most appropriate for the specific problem at hand and to tailor the approach to the specific needs and resources of the organization.
Assignment Objective 6: Propose human factors studies and data analysis by using the tools/ methods taught.
Human factors studies aim to understand the interactions between humans and the environment they interact with, including technology and products. Here are a few examples of studies and data analysis methods that can be used to investigate different aspects of human factors:
- Usability testing: This study aims to evaluate the ease of use and user satisfaction with a product or system. Usability testing involves recruiting participants, observing their behavior as they interact with the product, and collecting data on their performance and subjective feedback. Tools that can be used for usability testing include eye-tracking software, video recording, and survey tools such as Qualtrics.
- Task analysis: Task analysis aims to identify the steps involved in completing a task and the cognitive processes required to perform the task. Task analysis involves observation, interviews, and other methods to collect data on how people perform a task. Tools that can be used for task analysis include flowcharts, cognitive task analysis software, and data visualization tools such as Tableau.
- Human error analysis: This study aims to identify the causes of errors made by humans and to develop strategies to prevent or mitigate these errors. Human error analysis involves collecting data on incidents or errors and analyzing them using tools such as the Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS), Root Cause Analysis, and fault tree analysis.
- Biomechanical analysis: This study aims to understand the physical stresses and strains on the human body during work or other activities. Biomechanical analysis involves collecting data on posture, movement, and forces using tools such as motion capture, force plates, and electromyography (EMG).
- User experience (UX) design evaluation: This study aims to evaluate the user experience of a product or system and identify areas for improvement. UX design evaluation involves collecting data on user behavior, attitudes, and preferences using tools such as A/B testing, user surveys, and qualitative interviews.
In summary, the tools and methods used in human factors studies include observation, interviews, surveys, data visualization, and various data analysis methods such as statistical analysis, root cause analysis, and fault tree analysis. The choice of tools and methods depends on the research question, the type of data collected, and the level of analysis required.
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