A Participatory Design Project on Mobile ICT
Ursula Hyrkkänen (Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland), Juha Kettunen (Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland) and Ari Putkonen (Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland)
Copyright: © 2009
The purpose of this article is to describe and assess the participatory development process of a palm computer with special software from the work activity system point of view and analyse the benefits and drawbacks experienced by an employee while testing, implementing, and using a new communication and collaboration tool. This study focuses on the maintenance personnel of Company Alpha (the name has been changed for this study). The workers are responsible for the maintenance and serving of real estate.
Ergonomics is concerned with human-machine interface technology or user-interface technology, which is often also referred to as microergonomics (Hendrick & Kleiner, 2001). Larger work systems have to be considered when there is a need to better understand human–technology interaction, capabilities, and limitations. Work systems are complex sociotechnical systems (Carayon, 2006), and therefore, it is not relevant to focus on interface design alone when new tools are developed. Macroergonomics is an approach which attempts to achieve a fully harmonised work system at both the macro- and microergonomic levels by integrating principles and perspectives from industrial, work, and organisational psychology (Kleiner, 2006).
Figure 1 illustrates the generic work system adopted from Kleiner (2006). The work system consists of a personnel subsystem, where two or more people collaborate; a technical subsystem, where people are interacting with technology; and an organisational system, which includes physical and cultural internal environment of an organisation and an external environment.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Participatory Design: A design philosophy that uses participative approaches to involve users in the design process.
Ergonomics: Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of the interactions among humans and the other elements of a work system.
High Intensity Mobile Worker: Works away from the office and away from the main workplace for 10 or more hours in a week.
Macroergonomics: The subdiscipline of ergonomics that focuses on the design and harmonization of the overall work system.
Human-Centered Approach: Approach to human-machine function and task allocation that first considers the capabilities and limitations of the human and whether the function or task justifies the use of a human.
Mobile Worker: Spends some working time away from home and away from the main workplace such as on business trips, in the field, and customer’s premises.
Mobile E-Work: High intensity mobile work in the course of which an online connection to the Internet and to company computer systems is being used.