A Definition of Human Factors

Human Factors/Ergonomics is the discipline concerned with the development and application of human system interface technology to systems analysis design and evaluation. This technology encompasses human machine (hardware ergonomics), human task, (workplace ergonomics) human environment, (human environment ergonomics) and organizational-machine (macro-ergonomics) interfaces. Practitioners are engaged in developing design specifications, guidelines, methods, and tools. They also apply human-system interface technology to ensure that work systems are compatible with the characteristics of the human who operate, maintain or otherwise interact with them. Their efforts include improving the operability, maintainability, usability, comfort, safety and health characteristics of systems to improve the human and system effectiveness and to reduce the potential of injury and error.

Adapted from remarks published by H. Holbrook, 1995-96 President, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society