Emergency Management

Intuitive Engineering

Thinking Outside the Box
If it’s not Intuitive, it’s engineered wrong
When designing a workstation, it is important that the user be given all of the tools necessary within arm's length. These tools should need little or no instruction on how they are use.  It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure that out. That’s where “intuitive engineering” comes into play. Intuitive engineering is the backbone of Ergonomics. The designer is tasked to create an environment where the user can manipulate essential tools without being distracted from important tasks.

Make it simple, stupid!
One of the best examples can be found in the auto industry. In the early days, the radios, heaters, windshield wipers and gear shifts were always in the same place in almost every car. Changing a station or turning on the air conditioning didn’t distract the driver from driving the car. Then came the computer age and cars now have navigation and touch screens that controlled a myriad of new and personalized creature comforts. You need a manual and a few hours of training just to figure out how everything works.

If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
The same thing has happened in dispatch centers and call center environments where sit/stand functions and environmental controls are part of a paradigm mandated for call takers and dispatch operators. Replacing simple control knobs and toggle switches with more sophisticated and complicated touch screen dashboards has become popular.  A simple thing like holding down a switch until your desk reaches the optimum standing height has been replaced by a number of programmable memory controls that force the user to identify his or herself before picking the desired work surface layouts. Then hold down a virtual switch until the program cycles to the desired layout. Before controlling things like heaters, fans and light dimmers, you have to select from different screen menus to do simple tasks.  Try juggling all of this while responding to a frantic caller on the other end and staying focused just doesn’t work very well.

Breaking the mold on technology
At Americon, we subscribe to the notion that nothing should be distracting and difficult. Replacing functionality with pizazz may attract some but......!

Americon Console Furniture Website
The Personal Workspace Manager is a perfect example of intuitive engineering. Although functionally identical to more expensive touch screen systems, it employs simple rotary switches for controlling above counter air and below counter heating. Lift control is as simple as holding down a rocker switch until the workstation reaches the desired height. Add to it, AC power receptacles are positioned above the worksurface for easy access and there is also power below the worksurface for computers and other peripherals. USB and communication ports are conveniently located in the turret for easy access.

This sort of engineering is achieved through many years of studying human factors. It quickly becomes obvious why the Personal Workspace Manager is the choice of many call center people and dispatchers in 911 fire and police dispatch centers.

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