Derived from the Greek words “ergon,” meaning work, and “nomos,” meaning natural laws, ergonomics may be simply defined as the study of work. Often used interchangeably with the term human factors, ergonomics is a systems-oriented discipline with applications across all fields involving human/machine interaction. Ergonomics professionals are trained to consider physical, cognitive, social, organizational, environmental and other relevant factors when designing systems to optimize human well-being, satisfaction, and performance (IEA, 2017).

This course provides a brief overview of ergonomics and its implications in system design. Specifically, we discuss the three primary domains of ergonomics: cognitive ergonomics, physical ergonomics, and organizational or “macro” ergonomics. Links to resources for additional information are provided. Upon completing this module, the reader will have a better understanding of the role of ergonomics in optimal system design.