Human Factors Primer

Designing usable products use Human factors principles. Here is a summary of the key principles. Good design ensures the users are always informed about the current status in the product.


The user should be familiar with the terms and phrases used in the product. The user should always be in control, not the system. Everything should be consistent in the system - don’t change the meaning or function of a task in another part of the product.

Errors should be clearly described in error messages. User’s shouldn’t have to remember information from one dialog to the next.

Tasks should be as efficent as possible. User’s shouldn’t have to deal with noise, just the information.

Finally, provide help to users.

Human factors principles

Note: Examples use traffic intersections to demonstrate the principles.

Good resources on Human Factors are readily available through a Google search. My favourite is the Human-Computer Interaction Resource Network run by Thomas Wolfmaier, human factors specialist in Toronto, Canada.