Ergonomics resources


Hi guys. Does anybody know of any resources that I could access to discuss Ergonomics with my students?


It’s unfortunate that this looks so dated because it’s got a lot of good information in it as a primer:

Some other resources (I’ve not used them in a classroom, but they seem useful):

If you find (or create) anything better in the way of resources please do share!


Years ago I used to teach a First Year introductory ergonomics unit. When I get a little time, hopefully during December, I’ll write it up a version of this content as a high school class exercise. My plan is to cover the following topics:

  • what is ‘ergonomics’?
  • very short history of the origin of ergonomics/human factors
  • what is ‘anthropometrics’?
  • how designers use anthropometric data to make design decisions
    • percentiles
    • reach
    • clearance
    • the concept of limiting user
    • why the average measurement is no good

To make this topic tangible I’d recommend a class exercise involving all students. Many design students aren’t particularly strong at maths so we’ll process statical data graphically. These are the steps:

  1. students take measurements of each other’s bodies, specifically:
    1. standing height
    2. standing reach height (height of fingertip, arm held vertically)
    3. buttock-popliteal length (back bum to inside knee while seated)
    4. sitting height (height of underside of thigh whilst sitting)
  2. teacher tabulates this data within intervals for each measurement
    1. determine smallest measurement
    2. determine largest measurement
    3. choose interval (e.g. 10 mm increments) and create a frequency distribution graph
  3. determine percentiles by dividing the range into 100 increments (this can be done graphically but of course all of this stuff can be done in Excel too)

With this data you can have a class discussion to address the following questions:

  1. how tall would the doors in the classroom be if they were designed to accommodate 99% if the class population?
  2. what dimensions should chairs be to accommodate 99% of the class population (typically the seat depth and seat height)?
  3. how high should the highest shelves be in the classroom

I’d create a slide deck to help run this content and some worksheets for gather measurements and tabulating the data. I assume it would take at least 3 class sessions to conduct but students should have a good idea of practical physical ergonomics by the end of it. (Not attempting to deal with cognitive ergonomics here.)

What do you think of this general approach in terms of complexity, usefulness, and resources?



This is really helpful, thanks Andrew.


Hi Andrew, I was wondering where this amazing resource that you have mentioned here might be found. Thanks again.


Sadly it’s still locked up in my head. I’m teaching a could of new units this semester, one of which incorporates ergonomics, so I’ve been thinking about it a lot. unfortunately I have been completely consumed with my teaching responsibilities and haven’t had time to create this resource. The pieces are forming in my head but I won’t have any time to put them into place until late April and beyond (when my largest unit concludes). Sorry.