Product Service System (PSS) designs are geared towards providing products that are not only usable, but also offers a great deal of accessibility, acceptability and satisfaction of service. Usability was originally referred to as
“the capability in human functional terms of a product to be used easily and effectively by the range of users, given specific training and user support, to fulfil the specific range of tasks, within the specific range of environmental scenarios” (Wilson and Corlett, 2005).
The more “usable” a product, the more “ergonomic” that product is. But it’s never that simple, and what may be ergonomic for one person, may not be for another. That’s why ergonomists apply a systematic, human-centered approach to design that considers at least three primary perspectives:
Who is the target user population, and what are the characteristics of that population? Depending on the product, those population characteristics might include age, experience, size (height, reach length, weight, etc.), strength, cognitive abilities, sensory abilities (vision, hearing, etc.), or any number of characteristics important to the particular design.
What is the intended use, as well as foreseeable uses and mis-uses, for the product? In other words, what tasks or activities will it be used in, and how will this product enhance performance, and protect the user from harm, while performing those tasks?
What is the intended environment of use, as well as other foreseeable environments of use? Will the product be operated indoors or out? Will it be wet or dry? What will the lighting be like? Will there be dirt, dust or other contaminants? And so on.
Ergonomists take a holistic design approach that balances product form and function to provide a fit that optimizes performance, under well understood usage scenarios, by a well understood population of target users. Products that undergo this human-centered, ergonomic design approach are far more likely to achieve a positive user experience. Companies that deploy products that enhance user experience and performance are likely to meet with greater market success.