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Introduction to Human Factors Engineering (2nd Edition)

June 5th, 2011

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Book Overview:

This book describes the capabilities and limitations of the human operator—both physical and mental—and how these should be used to guide the design of systems with which people interact. General principles of human-system interaction and design are presented, and included are specific examples of successful and unsuccessful interactions. It links theories of human performance that underlie the principles with real-world experience, without a heavy engineering-oriented perspective. Topics include design and evaluation methods; different systems such as visual, auditory, tactile, vestibular, automated, and transportation; cognition, decision-making, and aesthetics; physiology; and stress, safety, accidents, and human error. An excellent reference for personnel and managers in the workplace.


Book Review

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out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12796 user reviews
Engineering Books This book describes the capabilities and limitations of the human operator—both physical and mental—and how these should be used to guide the design of systems with which people interact. General principles of human-system interaction and design are presented, and included are specific examples of successful and unsuccessful interactions. It links theories of human performance that underlie the principles with real-world experience, without a heavy engineering-oriented perspective. Topics include design and evaluation methods; different systems such as visual, auditory, tactile, vestibular, automated, and transportation; cognition, decision-making, and aesthetics; physiology; and stress, safety, accidents, and human error. An excellent reference for personnel and managers in the workplace.
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  1. Richard J. Gould
    June 7th, 2011 at 12:57 | #1

    Rating

    This textbook is written for any human factors engineering application purpose, but did appear to be slightly biased towards aviation. Maybe that’s because I used it for a Human Factors in Aviation course for my graduate work.

    The book has a LOT of information, so much that it can be difficult to read at times, but I’d rather have too much than not enough.

    The biggest complaint I have on the book is the authors diagrams. It is presented with a lot of diagrams and drawings to explain the point. Having a STRONG background in aviation, including 21 years in Naval Aviation, 11 of that as a FLight Engineer, and having taken HF in Aviation in my undergraduate stuidies, I can say that there were many times when I understood the material, but didn’t understand the drawing or diagram. They’re just too confusing sometimes.

    All-in-all, I thought the book was very good. The examples used at the beginning of the chapters were helpful in establishing a baseline with which to establish the lesson material.

  2. Anonymous
    June 7th, 2011 at 20:45 | #2

    Rating

    Informative presentation of basic Human Factors principles from a psychology perspective. Touches on Cognition, Perception, and the Design Process. The last of which is extremely valuable for any UI design. Handy reference tool.

  3. John A. Chester
    June 7th, 2011 at 21:32 | #3

    Rating

    I ordered this book for a Master’s class I’m taking and been a bit of a let down. Shipping was a breeze, and the content of the book is good, but the book is painfully boring. The pages are all black and white, and I have to force myself to continue on to each new paragraph. In general, I’d rather sit down and repeatedly stick pencils in my eyes than sit down and learn from this book about Human Factors.

  4. the human factor
    June 9th, 2011 at 02:26 | #4

    Rating

    My very first human factors course used this textbook, and it does an excellent job introducing and instilling the basics. It inspired me to pursue a human factors career, eight years later cumulating in a Ph.D. I now work in human-centered hardware design and find this the resource I go to most frequently to look up fundamental human factors principles. Each chapter also includes a list of resources cited in the text that I consult for more in-depth information on the wide array of topics this text covers.

  5. sergit_0
    June 11th, 2011 at 13:20 | #5

    Rating

    Wickens et al. really fill the gap between system engineering and cognitive psychology. I have found quite a few of books of this kind.
    The book contains good examples and references for workplace design, environmental conditions and several other applications that make it useful for a course textbook or professional’s desk reference.
    One word of caution (mea culpa as well): the authors did not address in this version the engineering tradition of poor, monotonous writing.

  6. S. Kiesler
    June 11th, 2011 at 23:41 | #6

    Rating

    I’ve used this book in my human factors grad/undergrad class for 4 years. This book is the only text in human factors with information from research in cognitive science, and a cognitive science perspective on human error. The book is weaker on the ergonomics and design side, and quite weak on social aspects of human factors. I use the book in combination with Don Norman’s book and the Casey book of case studies.

    I do not require students to memorize the book. They use it as a reference for doing problem solving and case analyses. It contains good research references and many important facts and figures that human factors and design professionals need.

  7. Student
    June 12th, 2011 at 19:55 | #7

    Rating

    Just finished a HF course and this was the required text for the course. This text is awful. Very poor writing, incorrect or misleading info is presented, in the area’s of work physiology, etc. The author did not explore or offer ANY additional insight in area’s such as bio-mechanics etc.. HUGE sections of the text are pure quotes from other sources.. Very poor.. All I can say is thank goodness I was able to sell the book.

  8. A. Cobb
    June 13th, 2011 at 16:51 | #8

    Rating

    This was the single most atrocious example of a “text book” I’ve ever had the displeasure of dealing with. Very poor editing throughout, and often the outline structure was unnavigable. Adding to that problem, was poor grammar and sections that simply made no sense. “…incentive programs are effective over long periods of time as long as they are not dropped permanently at some point.” My suggestion, if you have a class that requires this textbook, find a new class.

  9. Lani Azahari
    June 15th, 2011 at 15:33 | #9

    Rating

    Used this book for an introductory course to human factors engineering. I’ll say it was written in a way that made it easy to understand, with lists and clear examples. I do wish that there were more diagrams for conveying some of the ideas. Including the lens model diagram inside this book along with a brief section on it would have worked wonders, though. Otherwise, it was a good book.

  10. RyanD
    June 17th, 2011 at 08:07 | #10

    Rating

    This edition of Human Factors Engineering is a brilliant read. It uses excellent examples that play out the content in story based scenarios. My only criticism is that it may be a bit too informative, meaning there is so much information it is kind of a whirlwind to read through. This however may contribute to its use in a widespread industry where the reader may be an engineer, architect, digital/clothing designer, etc. Great book and I recommend it to anyone interested in Human Factors Design.

  11. whiterussian@web.de
    June 19th, 2011 at 04:51 | #11

    Rating

    Wickens is a true pioneer in the field of human factors who fills the gap between (system) engineering and cognitive psychology with great diligence and competence. This book, “An Introduction to Human Factors Engineering”, is another excellent reference tool made for engineers to integrate psychologic research results in their creations; I read it in combination with Wickens’ “Engineering Psychology and Human Performance”, which concentrates rather on the psychological perspective of human factors than on practical design advices. Both books have considerable overlappings, and are similar to each other, even in the structure of the chapters; nevertheless, I highly recommend them both. I have not (yet) found better literature for this field.

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