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5
People, Technology, and Usability:
An Ergonomic Perspective
In this chapter we exemplify and discuss a macro-perspective of people in
nature and people and technology. We emphasize the need for service design
to strive toward a model of harmony or balance between people-activity and
the natural world. We feel this is a reasonable proposal. After all, nature
itself is founded on a system in balance. Ancient so-called primitive societies
lived, to a large extent, in balance with nature and its ecology. In our own
understanding of the concept of ergonomics, we look simultaneously at ecol-
ogy in nature and its inherent balance. The science of ergonomics focuses
on human intervention often to the detriment of a natural balance. This is
ergonomics from a macro-perspective. A more general understanding of
ergonomics aims to create a balance between people as individuals or as
groups on one side and on the other, technology from simple work tools
to complex large technological systems. We take ergonomic theories and
concepts as our springboard for service design.
Ergonomics: A Brief Overview
Ergonomics is a cross- and interdisciplinary science covering all different
areas of human sciences, including some aspects of social science, as well
as different areas of technology and technological applications.
1
Ergonomics
can be subdivided into many different areas. We focus on four distinct areas:
power ergonomics, informational ergonomics, environmental ergonomics,
and organizational ergonomics. Power ergonomics deals with humans as an
energy/power resource. From this point of view, ergonomics is related to
the design of simple tools, for example, knives and forks, hammers, saws,
screwdrivers, hand drills, and axes. In this category, we also include simple
electromechanical hand tools, such as electrical hand drills, and household
tools, such as vacuum cleaners and dish washers. Informational ergonomics
is related to psychology, pedagogics, and sociology. But we emphasize that
here there is only a relationship, and informational ergonomics is not a direct
part of the overall discipline (as, for example, a university department of
psychology). Practitioners of informational ergonomics (called ergonomists)

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