Consideration of products' ergonomic qualities is one important component for
successful product development. Product designers engaged in the core activity of
product development need methods that support the consideration of ergonomics along
with other product requirements. This thesis aims to address these needs.
The first part of the thesis investigates how people working within product
development organisations communicate with and about users of their products. The
general need for methods to support communication of user aspects in product
development is identified through formal interviews with product developers and a
review of the management, ergonomics and design literature.
The second part of the thesis studies the factors which affect the integration of
ergonomics in product design. Supportive methods, including User Characters, for
evoking user consideration among designers together with Overlapping methods for
scheduling ergonomics evaluation in product design processes are introduced and argued.
The third part of the thesis reviews and discusses computer aided ergonomics as a
means for integration of ergonomics in product design. A web-based support system for
effective employment of human simulation tools is developed using a participative
approach and evaluated based on the system's usability.
The objective of the fourth part of the thesis is to study how human simulation tools
can aid designers' consideration of human diversity to accommodate users of diverse
anthropometric characteristics in multivariate design problems such as automobile
cockpits. The work involves the evaluation of different approaches for the generation of
specific manikin families which can be used as test groups for fitting trials in the virtual
design process. The research demonstrates enhancements in design methodology knowledge to
support integration of ergonomics in product design processes with a focus on anthropometric diversity in vehicle design.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.