The Ergonomic Observer
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INTRODUCTION: During computerised recording of events, i.e. tasks, positions, postures, communication or co-operation, the observer is distracted from the observed situation, because of mismatches between his inner representation and the recorder’s interface, i.e. function keys, key codes or menu lists. Online registration of fast tasks or movements and of parallel events or team work processes are often not possible. The presented FIT-System (Flexible Interface Technique) can improve this, by: matching the observer’s mental model about their way to register the data, providing online and on-site flexibility in configuration changes of the recorder, guaranteeing on-site adaptability for different observation tasks. METHOD: The FIT-System is a paper template, covering the touch screen of an handheld computer (a common organiser or palm size computer) and works as follows: (1) Template Design: By using text, symbols, sketches and with the help of colours, the observer can create manually and without computer interactions a drawing on the paper template according to their ideas and representation of the analysis. (2) Event Recording: The observer identifies the events, online recording them by typing on the related template symbols. The x,y co-ordinates of the typed point and the actual time code are stored in the handheld computer via the touch screen. (3) Data Analysis: Transmitted to the personal computer (PC), the recorded x,y-data can be assigned definitions according to the template design. The result is a table of events and related time codes as a basis for analysis in a standard spreadsheet program. RESULTS: Using the three recording types: • single object - sequential events (single tasks, postures, links), • multiple objects - sequential events (team work analysis, • single object - multiple events (multiple, combined events), the FIT-System shows It’s advantages in: • Ease of use and fast interaction, because every observer can define and change his own semantics and syntactic of the recording process. • Multi-purpose applications, i.e. all observational data can be recorded. • Online and on-site flexibility, because pre-definition of the input data isn’t necessary. CONCLUSION: The main ideas of the FIT-System are the separation of the user interface from the handheld device and the latter assignment of the data. The observer can ‘fit’ their ideas of event recording in iterative steps on the template. This involves their mind in the analysis and shortens the cognitive distance between their mental model and their event recorder interactions. The iterative, fast and ‘error-friendly’ process of on-line interface design and redesign shows a positive impact on the observer’s learning process about the analyzed situations. Overall the observer can spend more attention on the situation and has more awareness for details in tasks, positions and postures, or for multiple operator and parallel task recording. Therefore, using the FIT-System’s paper template and pencil technique seems to be an ergonomic approach to record observational data Show more
Journal / seriesProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting
Pages / Article No.
SubjectBehavioral Analysis; Observational Data Recording; User Interface Design
Organisational unit02120 - Dep. Management, Technologie und Ökon. / Dep. of Management, Technology, and Ec.
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