As director of user research and interaction design Bresslergroup, Rob Tannen is responsible for making sure that power tools, medical equipment, even touchscreen kiosks fit our hands like proverbial gloves. That's because when it comes to our hands, he's pretty much the authority on the topic: Rob is a Certified Professional Ergonomist.
But that doesn't means his work ends where our wrists begin. Rob has researched cockpit interfaces for U.S. Air Force, designed trading floor order systems for the New York Stock Exchange, and created touch screen applications for the consumer appliances in our own homes. His own blog is like a best-practices primer for the industry, reviewing relevant books and products, covering his many speaking gigs (he spoke at IDSA's recent Miami confab) and exploring design challenges like ergonomics for cyclists.
This week, Rob is going to take us inside the head of an ergonomist—explaining the research and decisions that go into everything we touch, grip and hold. According to Rob, we're entering a very interesting time for the field and its related devices. "Technologies have opened a rich world to interaction designers, who have largely been constrained to an input vocabulary of buttons and pointers," he says. "Now, designers are gaining a complex and dynamic palette built around—and limited only by—the physical capabilities of the human body." Whether it's the process of prototyping, conducting ethnographic research, or creating the interface design on the final product, Rob's expertise in both interaction design and ergonomics make him an expert on the future of touchy-feely design.
So, as you can see, we're in very good hands this week.
In the meantime, here are some more reasons for your hands to thank Rob Tannen:
Becton Dickinson BACTEC FX improves workflow and usability for hospital lab technicians with features including high visibility status indicator lights, while reducing floor space. It won a Medical Design Excellence Award.
Black & Decker Thermal Leak Detector helps consumers cut energy costs by illuminating temperature differences with color-coded spot projection. It won an Appliance Design Excellence Award.
VingCard Elsafe Sentinel II uses RFID technology to secure hotel guests' valuables. It's one of a line of safes with distinct features, forms and finishes that still share a family look and feel.
Fadow Moviecle digital kiosk combines engaging advertising displays with a highly usable touch screen interface for downloading digital entertainment and information content.
SRS Energy Solé Power Tile generates electricity through a long-lasting roofing system that costs, looks and installs like a typical high quality blue-glazed ceramic tile roof. It won an IDEA Award (and we featured it as the first Designers' Accord case study).
Read Rob Tannen's blog Designing for Humans