ASI is a subscriber to the human-based approach to systems design. The following are fundamental to that approach:
1) All existence is a system. From a human perspective, all systems satisfy a human need. Some systems are natural, others are designed by humans, and others are a combination of natural and human designed. A system of interest is defined by the interested human(s)
2) The effectiveness of the system design and the system performance is a function of the designer’s ability to define and bound the system of interest, in particular the human need(s) to be met by the system and the system components pertinent to satisfying that need.
3) All systems are comprised of the following component categories: humans, technologies, environment, the interactions between the humans, technologies, and the environment, and the interfaces required to safely, efficiently, and effectively facilitate the interactions. System(S) = Human(H) + Technology(T) + Environment(E) + Interactions (IA) + Interfaces(IF).
4) Identifying and articulating measurable interface requirements, particularly those dealing with the human factors/ergonomics and system safety characteristics. The development of these requirements will assist other domain related specialists in identifying and articulating measurable requirements unique to their specialty.
Designing includes all activities that relate to the development of a design, the system of interest. A key to smart design is identifying and understanding the human need and the pertinent components, particularly the pertinent interfaces needed to meet the human need.
Most designed systems start out as a thought or concept about some aspect of the system, even though it may not yet be thought of as a system. Generally, an iterative design process is then initiated from which a system of interest is developed (designed). Because most systems are complex and involve a variety of disciplines, identifying, collecting, and using ideas, data, and information can be a daunting task. ASI has developed a methodology for efficiently and effectively collecting and using ideas, data, and information for all phases of the design process. This methodology also enhances the interactive nature of an iterative design process.
It is most beneficial for the design and the designer, if the human factors/ergonomics design input is begun at the earliest stage of the design process and is continued throughout the process. Early and sustained input from human factors/ergonomics professionals during the design process will ensure an optimum finished product or premise with respect to the interfaces between the humans and the other pertinent system components in the environment in which the product or premise is to be used or located.
ASI works with designers to help ensure that
1) The human need for the system of interest is appropriately defined and is measurable.
2) The designer maintains the focus on the human components of the system of interest, and
3) Measurable requirements are identified and defined for the interfaces needed to safely, effectively, and efficiently facilitate the interactions between the human components and the other system components the needs of the human users of products and premises currently in the design process are met when the product or premise is released for use.
ASI also works with system owners and maintainers of existing products or premises to identify and evaluate hazards and to recommend modifications to either eliminate or sufficiently control hazards to render the product or premise reasonably safe for the reasonably foreseeable user class.
In a perfect world, all products and premises would be absolutely hazard free before they became part of the environment occupied by humans. Unfortunately, this is not the case and unfortunately, humans are often injured because of oversights or mistakes made during the design, manufacture, construction, operation, or maintenance of a product or premise. When this happens, ASI is often retained to investigate the event causality and to provide recommendations for modification of the existing system to reduce the probability of future occurrences. Inevitably, this type of post-incident analysis leads to a recommended design change within the system in which the incident occurred.
At ASI we believe that a better design (product, facility, service, etc.) can be provided when human factors/ergonomics principles are adhered to and applied throughout all stages of system development, but most importantly, in the earliest stages of the design phase.