The mind is aware of 30% of its physical interactions; the remaining 70% affect us surreptitiously.
The study of Ergonomics is not new. Ergonomics theories, university programs, books and experts abound. Unfortunately, too many have focussed all of 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 show you the expanse covered by Excess Noise Ergonomics analysis, the water well story is worth telling. This water well in rural Uganda was impractical. Pulling water from the open well was dangerous, tedious and inefficient. Lines of container carrying women and children were long. They spent more time waiting than making it there or pulling up the water. This is pertinent when you factor in that many walked over 5 miles to get to the well, sometimes twice a day.
Without pretense of being civil engineers, and without rebuilding the well, a simple addition to the well provided a much more efficient experience. We have no photos to show (old school negatives misplaced) but suffice it to say that it took two pieces of wood and one extra pulley along with a ‘rope-braking’ mechanism to cut the water extraction process by two-thirds. That represents a tripling of the output.
Beverage companies have long understood the importance of a well contoured bottle, can, carton or other container. Hand indents, balanced centers of gravity and other solutions have made pouring simpler and safer. And yet, 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 challenging at best.
It takes little effort to think of all the daily situations that make us realize how little thought goes into creating or fixing objects and spaces to better suit human 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.