The role of Prototyping in Ergonomic Practice and Research to Anticipate New Products and Services

  • André LiemEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 824)


This article argues for the dual role of prototyping in facilitating abductive thinking in research and practice within “Ergonomics” and “Design”. Moreover, this duality also pertains to the development of innovative commodities, as well as in the acquisition of new knowledge.

Since PE investigates real-life scenarios the aim of the researcher is to understand the nature and complexity of the future state of the system. In this sense prototypes can be used as probes into that future state due to the fact that once implemented they unveil real interactions and transformations of the system. Based on the act of design as a critical inquiry in itself, prototypes and prototyping are then being more and more perceived as carriers of reflection and argumentation

From a pedagogical perspective, prototyping exposes students to larger issues around creating and testing operational models of knowledge. Reversely, when being engaged in collaborative project with industry, prototyping can play an expanded as well as a more effective role in conceptualizing innovative solutions in an efficient manner.


Prototyping Prospective ergonomics Research and practice 


  1. 1.
    Stanton NA, Young M (1998) Ergonomics methods in consumer product design and evaluation. In: Stanton N (ed) Human factors in product design. Taylor and Francis Ltd., UK, pp 21–52Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Dul J, Bruder R, Buckle P, Carayon P, Falzon P, Marras WS, Wilson JR, van der Doelen B (2012) A strategy for human factors/ergonomics: developing the discipline and profession. Ergonomics 55(4):377–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bannon L (2002) Taking “Human-Centered Computing” Seriously. COCONET: Context-Aware Collaborative Environments for Next Generation Business Networks, HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hollnagel E, Woods DD (2005) Joint cognitive systems: foundations of cognitive systems engineering. CRC PressGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Norros L (2014) Developing human factors/ergonomics as a design discipline. Appl Ergon 45(1):61–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Theberge N, Neumann WP (2010) Doing ‘organizational work’: expanding the conception of professional practice in ergonomics. Appl Ergon 42(1):76–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Leonard SD (1999) Does color of warnings affect risk perception? Int J Ind Ergon 23(5–6):499–504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Denis D, St Vincent M, Imbeau D, Jetté C, Nastasia I (2008) Intervention practices in musculoskeletal disorder prevention: a critical literature review. Appl Ergon 39(1):1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Neumann WP, Eklund J, Hansson B, Lindbeck L (2010) Effect assessment in work environment interventions: a methodological reflection. Ergonomics 53(1):130–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Shorrock ST, Murphy DJ (2005) The ergonomist as skilled helper. In: Bust PD (ed) Contemporary ergonomics. Taylor & FrancisGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Shorrock ST, Murphy DJ (2007) The role of empathy in ergonomics consulting. In: Bust PD (ed) Contemporary ergonomics. Taylor & FrancisGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kirwan B (2000) Soft systems, hard lessons. Appl Ergon 31(6):663–678CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Wilson JR (2000) Fundamentals of ergonomics in theory and practice. Appl Ergon 31(6):557–567CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Schatzki TR (2001) Introduction: practice theory. In: Schatzki TR, Cetina KK, von Savigny E (eds) The practice turn in contemporary theory (2001)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Whittington R (2016) Completing the practice turn in strategy research. Organ Stud 27(5):613–634CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Regnér P (2003) Strategy creation in the periphery: inductive versus deductive strategy making. J Manag Stud 40(1):57–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Sanders EBN, Stappers PJ (2014) Probes, toolkits and prototypes: three approaches to making in codesigning. CoDesign 10(1):5–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lim Y-K, Stolterman E, Tenenberg J (2008) The anatomy of prototypes: prototypes as filters, prototypes as manifestations of design ideas. ACM Trans Comput Hum Interact 15(2):7:1–7:27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Buchenau M, Fulton Suri J (2000) Experience prototyping. In: Proceedings of the 3rd conference on designing interactive systems: processes, practices, methods, and techniques, ACM, pp 424–433Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hasdoǧan G (1996) The role of user models in product design for assessment of user needs. Des Stud 17(1):19–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Mattelmäki T, Hasu M, Ylirisku S (2009) Creating mock-ups of strategic partnerships. In: Proceedings of IASRD conference in Seoul, Korea.
  22. 22.
    Wensveen S, Matthews B. (2015) Prototypes and prototyping in design research. RoutledgeGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Houde S, Hill C (1997) What do prototypes prototype. In: Handbook of Human-Computer Interaction. Elsevier, pp 367–381Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Ulrich KT (2012) Eppinger SD Product Design and Development. McGraw-Hill Higher EducationGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Odom W, Wakkary R, Lim YK, Desjardins A, Hengeveld B, Banks R (2016) From research prototype to research product. In: Proceedings of the 2016 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems. ACM, pp 2549–2561Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Perrow C (1983) The organizational context of human factors engineering. Adm Sci Q 28:521–541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Robert JM, Brangier E (2009) What is prospective ergonomics? a reflection and a position on the future of ergonomics. In: International conference on ergonomics and health aspects of work with computers. Springer, Heidelberg, pp. 162–169 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Brangier E, Robert JM (2010) Confèrence pour l’ergonomie prospective: Anticiper de futures activités humaines en vue de concevoir de nouveaux artéfacts. In: Conference Internationale Francophone sur I’Interaction Homme-Machine. ACM, pp 57–64Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Robert JM, Brangier É (2012) Prospective ergonomics: origin, goal, and prospects. Work 41(1):5235–5242Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Wilson JR, Ryan B, Schock A, Ferreira P, Smith S, Pitsopoulos J (2009) Understanding safety and production risks in rail engineering planning and protection. Ergonomics 52(7):774–790CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Rosson MB, Carroll JM (2002) Usability engineering: scenario-based development of human-computer interaction. Morgan KaufmannGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Nelson J, Buisine S, Aoussat A, Gazo C (2014) Generating prospective scenarios of use in innovation projects. Le Travail Humain 77(1):21–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Liem A, Ruecker S, Alfonso de la Rosa J (2017) Using studio teaching as an initiator and driver for research collaboration in design. In: DS 87-9 proceedings of the 21st international conference on engineering design (ICED 17), vol 9: Design Education, Vancouver, Canada, p 21Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Galey A, Ruecker S (2010) How a prototype argues. Lit Linguist Comput 25(4):405–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Schon DA (1983) The reflective practicioner: how professionals think in action, vol. 1. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Boer L, Donovan J (2012) Provotypes for participatory innovation. In: Proceedings of the designing interactive systems conference. ACM, pp 388–397Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Bogers M, Horst W (2014) Collaborative prototyping: Cross-fertilization of knowledge in prototype-driven problem solving. J Prod Innov Manag 31(4):744–764CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Kolb AY, Kolb DA (2017) The experiential educator: Principles and practices of experiential learning. Experience based learning systemsGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of DesignNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway

Personalised recommendations