A manifesto for cognitive ergonomics: Re-evaluating Technology Usability for the 21st Century
Authors: Witchel, H.J. and Westling, C.E.I.
Journal: CEUR Workshop Proceedings
Computer infiltration into the workplace and society has been extensive, yet the ideals of efficacy, efficiency and satisfaction remain unattained. We propose an ambitious framework to take forward Cognitive Ergonomics and Human Factors. Increasing the visibility of the field while linking and nurturing the practitioners is essential. We define Cognitive Ergonomics as an interdisciplinary field of research and practice dedicated towards: – Understanding and supporting human cognition and performance – At work or when performing other goal-directed tasks – With computers and other engineered artefacts – To improve human well-being and our relationship with our environment. This revitalising programme will be based on: – Interdisciplinary Research – Research-based Policy – Education The proposed interdisciplinary framework will refocus on the classical facets of usability and include work-relevant emotions as well as understanding the minimal requirements for successful interactions (including understanding agency). The research-based policy will focus on efficacy in terms of human cognitive ergonomics in a holistic perspective (i.e. producing the effects we want without adverse effects). This will include complex questions about interface design in the context of the organisational and business models that influence its development (e.g. monetization). The educational courses will spotlight how end-users should not have their time wasted, as well as the consequences of digital mediation in learning generally. This framework will differentiate cognitive ergonomics from its affiliated fields of Human-Computer Interaction and Psychology, and address a gap between the social sciences and engineering that has become more urgent in the past 5-10 years. It is ideally suited to be carried forward by the European Association of Cognitive Ergonomics. This framework is specifically a collaborative effort grounded in European intellectual and scientific tradition — a perspective that offers a much-needed contrast and complement to Anglosphere research and development agendas in interactive technologies.