A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Amara's RSI Page

I will examine this unfortunate side effect, Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), of the Digital Age in this essay. It has probably affected someone you know. I hope this information will cause you to pause, look at your computer setup and initiate changes that make your computing safer and more comfortable. And if you've already experienced some of RSI's disabling and career-threatening effects, I hope that this article eases some of your anxieties by describing methods, approaches and treatments that have helped others.

Amara.com (1999). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Ergonomics>RSI


Avoiding Repetitive-Stress Injuries: A Guide for the Technical Communicator

Writers and editors in particular put in an awful lot of miles at the keyboard every day. One serious problem is the risk of so-called 'repetitive-stress injury' (RSI)--simplistically, any injury that results from overuse of a body part without giving it time to recover. In fact, 'overuse injury' is probably a more immediately obvious term, and given how much time many of us spend using computers, overuse is indeed a risk.

Hart, Geoffrey J.S. TECHWR-L (2004). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Ergonomics>RSI


Avoiding Repetitive-Stress Injuries: A Guide for the Technical Communicator

Writers and editors in particular put in an awful lot of miles at the keyboard every day. For example, I commonly spend a solid 8 hours typing. Writers and editors in particular put in an awful lot of miles at the keyboard every day. For example, I commonly spend a solid 8 hours typing. Then there's that darned mouse. W. Wayt Gibbs, writing in the June 2002 Scientific American, used the Mouse Odometer software (www.modometer.com) to monitor his habits and found that in a single 5-day period, he'd recorded 2440 feet of mouse movement and nearly 22 000 mouse clicks. It's no wonder computer users sometimes experience serious physical problems.It's no wonder computer users sometimes experience serious physical problems.

Hart, Geoffrey J.S. TECHWR-L (2005). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Ergonomics>RSI



Ergonomics commonly refers to designing work environments for maximizing safety and efficiency.

Usernomics. Resources>User Interface>Ergonomics


Ergonomics As Customer Focused Risk Management

We often see investment in new working environments, expensive software and equipment wasted, because the real needs of the user and their tasks are not taken into account when the purchase or change is made.

System Concepts (2005). Articles>User Centered Design>Ergonomics


Feng Shui for the Tech Writer's Workspace

It sounds like something from a late-night infomercial: Enhance your productivity by cranking out online help files in half the time! Increase your prosperity by being promoted to head of the documentation department! Improve your interpersonal relations so that Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are just waiting to review your documents. Ensure a long and healthy life, despite the stress of vaporware product launches! If an advertisement lurking in your emailbox claimed to have an ancient secret to give you all the above, you'd likely press Delete faster than you can say 'looming deadlines.' But what if millions of people--some as well-known and successful as Donald Trump--and major corporations, such as Virgin Airlines, The Wall Street Journal, and Citibank, attested to this 'magic' secret's power? In that case, you just might sit back in your office chair and listen.

Chroust Ehmann, Lain. TECHWR-L (2002). Careers>Workplace>Ergonomics>SMEs


Good Ergonomics Is Good Economics   (PDF)

Illustrated case studies of how the application of ergonomics principles has resulted in cost savings and injury reduction for several companies.

Hendrick, Hal. HFES (2005). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Ergonomics


How Can the Computer be Harmful to You?

In most of our articles, we discuss the importance of making technologies accessible. While doing so, we talk a lot about compensating for all types of disabilities. However, we’d also like you to know that there is a lot you can do to avoid long-term health issues which would later require you to use technologies for people with disabilities. Below we discuss these computer-related health issues and how you can minimize and avoid their negative effects.

Babinszki, Tom. Even Grounds (2010). Articles>Technology>Ergonomics>RSI


How Tai Chi Will Make You a Better Technical Writer

You can get away with this in your 20s, but as you get older you need to take greater care of your health. I really hate jogging (: and looked for an alternative form of exercise. I found Tai Chi.

Walsh, Ivan. I Heart Tech Writing (2010). Articles>Writing>Ergonomics>Technical Writing


Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

Offers general information about the organization, news about the field, links to recently written articles related to Human Factors issues as well as job postings

HFES. Organizations>Human Computer Interaction>Ergonomics


Human Factors and Ergonomics Standards

This page lists the primary standards and guidelines for Ergonomics, Human Factors, User Interface Design, and Website Design.

Usernomics. Resources>Human Computer Interaction>Ergonomics


It's Not Rocket Science

One of the perennial criticisms of ergonomics consultants is that much of what we say is 'just common sense’. I do not see this as a criticism. Nowadays, there is far too little common sense evident in our daily lives. However, what critics really fail to understand is that what may seem obvious with hindsight was rarely that obvious beforehand.

System Concepts (2005). Articles>Usability>Ergonomics


One-Handed Thumb Use on Smart Phones by Semi-literate and Illiterate Users in India   (PDF)

There is tremendous potential for developing mobile-based occupational productivity tools for semi-literate and illiterate users in India. One-handed thumb use on the touchscreen of smart phone or touch phone is considered as an effective alternative than the use of stylus or index finger, to free the other hand for supporting occupational activity. In this context, usability research and experimental tests are conducted to understand the role of fine motor control, usability of thumb as the tool for interaction and the ergonomic needs of users. The paper touches upon cultural, racial and anthropometric needs related with the topic, which also need due consideration while designing the mobile interface. Design recommendations are evolved to improve overall effectiveness of one-handed thumb use on smart phone, especially for the benefit of semi-literate and illiterate users.

Katre, Dinesh. HCeye (2010). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Ergonomics>User Centered Design


Patterns of Functional Loss Among Older People: A Prospective Analysis   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Patterns of capability loss and disability onset among older people were investigated prospectively. With aging, the gap between personal capability and environmental demand becomes wider, resulting in higher levels of disability in daily activities. Data from a longitudinal, population-based study were obtained for analysis, which recruited a representative sample of 13,004 people aged 65 years and older from five sites in Great Britain. Participants completed a baseline interview during 1990 to 1994 and follow-up interviews after 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, and 10 years. Those who reported full vision, hearing, thinking, locomotion, reaching, and dexterity ability as well as no disability in cooking, housework, shopping, and transportation at baseline were included in a survival analysis. Locomotion was the first ability to be lost, followed by reaching, thinking, hearing, vision, and dexterity. Age at onset of disability was earliest for shopping, then housework, transportation, and cooking. Women were consistently younger at capability loss and disability onset than men except in terms of hearing and cooking. These findings suggest that capabilities required for product and service interaction follow a hierarchical pattern of loss, which has practical implications for design. Although interventions to reduce disability in the older population are likely to require changes that address more than one demand, capabilities lost early in old age should take precedence over those lost later. A potential application of this research is in the development of an overall design strategy to enhance older people’s ability to live independently.

Seidel, David, Nathan Crilly, Fiona E. Matthews, Carol Jagger, P. John Clarkson and Carol Brayne. Human Factors (2009). Articles>Usability>Ergonomics>Elderly


Quick Tips for Finding a Human Factors/Ergonomics Job in Industry

Despite ups and downs in the industrial job market, employment prospects can be outstanding for well-qualified candidates. Regardless of the state of the market, the tips in this brochure will help you improve your chances of success as an industry professional. Employers today have higher expectations for new hires than they did 5, 10, or 20 years ago. Candidates must understand specifics about the employer's industry, but they should also be able to see the big picture involved in a project and to know how to apply human factors principles, frameworks, and techniques. Candidates should have a record of accomplishments, even while in graduate school, such as publications, presentations, and leadership assignments. In all cases, leadership and communication abilities are crucial.

Young, Karen R. and Ronald G. Shapiro. Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (2001). Careers>Human Computer Interaction>Ergonomics


The Right Tool for the Job   (PDF)

A monitor that's perfect for one job might be inadequate - or overkill - for another. Here's how to find one that'll fit your needs.

Bury, Scott. Adobe Magazine (1996). Articles>Computing>Ergonomics


Statistics and Percentiles in Anthropometry

If you are more than 95th percentile height or less than 5th percentile, we predict that some everyday objects do not always seem quite the right size for you. Just as you were able to compare your height with others in a given population, it is also possible to make such comparisons for other dimensions such as arm length, hand grip span, seated elbow height etc. Those whose build puts them towards the one extreme or the other will be familiar with the problems of using awkward sized objects.

System Concepts (2005). Articles>Usability>Ergonomics


What is Anthropometry?

Imagine you are positioning an emergency 'rip cord' on a train. How high up should you put it? Anthropometrics are used to describe the 'user' or 'target' population for a product. Answers are given in terms of the range of body dimensions which exist in that population.

System Concepts (2005). Articles>Usability>Ergonomics

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