Ergonomics is at its best when it serves.


The study of ergonomics is not new; theories, university programs, books and experts abound. Interestingly, many have focused their efforts on either the workplace or automobile interiors. Both are important but ergonomics is so much more.

To Excess Noise, the study of ergonomics starts in the outside world and ends with any human physical receptor. A slippery floor is relevant to ergonomics. So too is a noisy airport terminal, an overly dim restaurant or an uncomfortably wide bottle of apple juice.

To their credit, beverage companies have long understood the importance of ergonomics. Their efforts to develop well contoured bottles, cans, cartons or other container have been endless. Hand indents, balanced centers of gravity and other solutions have made pouring more comfortable, simpler and safer. And yet, there are still problems. For instance, many beverage companies have neglected the relationship between package and refrigerator. Getting a carton of milk in and out of a refrigerator door shelf is still challenging at best.

One quickly realizes how many daily situations require fixing; we need objects and spaces to better suit physical realities. Of course this applies to the workplace as well. Whether it be an office, a factory, a waiting room, a hallway or other professional space, ergonomics matter. The same applies to all forms of transport, a place of hospitality or even a place of healing. Consumer goods are evidently in need of good ergonomics. We all want a comfortable bed and who hasn't dropped a smartphone because its surface was too slippery?

Excess Noise uses both traditional and proprietary methods to evaluate favorable and unfavorable ergonomics.

A Little Test

One of the simplest tests of the importance of physical interaction with our modern world is visual contrast. Which of these are easier to read? Of note, our studies show that black text on a white background, though favored, is by no means the only choice. The lesson is that ergonomics must appeal to the greater number but must also take into account special needs!

Red on white is generally considered as the second strongest option after black on white. This said, this color combination is not great for extended reading.

The jury is still out on 'reverse'. Current thinking is that light on dark works well for highlighting but not for extended reading.

Clearly, insufficient contrast, right?

White on black has much more contrast than white on any other color, including red.

Artistically, green and purple is a pleasant combination but, obviously, it's not a great reading combination.

Arguably the more boring choice but without a doubt, black on white still triumphs.

Find out more

If you would like discuss how Perception Analysis can help you steer your corporate or institutional image and communications strategy, ask to consult with an Excess Noise analyst or research fellow.

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Our Expertise

Communications and Perception Analysis

The broader knowledge base that informs perception analysis, ergonomics and behaviorism


We examine how people perceive a leader, product, service or any other  message.


How study how people interact with or use objects or move through spaces.


We observe how people's behavior is a window into their intent.


We master several aspects of communications production.