The definition of ergonomics is first done by Wojciech Jastrzebowski in 1857 to explain philosophical meaning of work or job other than the content used nowadays. In 20th century, F.W Taylor and Gilberth studied on ergonomics without naming the studies done.

In 1940 Murell, redefined the term ergonomics following the studies on the man and his work environment with a scientific approach.

Today ergonomics is evaluated with many definitions but all have common focus points

 • Rearranging work (and its environment) to the man rather than man to the work or job.

 • Applying methods, data, principals and theories of various disciplines to estimate a higher comfort and performance during the interference of man and the systems that he has an interface with.

 • Deriving the knowledge of man’s abilities, limitations and other factors that shall be an input for design in relationship with man.

 • Defining, understanding and applying the behavioral aspects and performance based reactions of man to the technological developments and products.

Urgent need of ergonomics is appeared mostly during WW II because of insufficient criteria of ergonomics applied in designs of war machines like aircraft and armored vehicles. With heavy loses of military personnel and vehicles due to poorly designed crew escape systems, mission critical consoles, equipment and so on, enforced the manufacturers to understand and correct what was wrong with their products.

Therefore a user based design concept is developed with ergonomics which is:

   --- Empirical; any design should be studied depending on human physical and cognitive characteristics, data that is observed on human behavior and experience.

   --- Iterative; empirical studies is followed by a preliminary design output which will be reevaluated with more empirical studies.

   --- Participant; active participation of end user is applied.

   --- Not Prokrustist; the main concept is what human is rather than what human shall be.

   --- Consistent with individual differences; design solutions depend on most possible user characteristics.

           • Considering work done by user and user motivations; consistency between customer and product is evaluated with user work and motivations.

           • Adopting system based approaches; product-customer relationship is applied due to a wider techno-social system.

           • Pragmatic; best possible design solution is aimed with the resources and limitations of research.

Now an ergonomically well-studied design saves millions dollars of companies that would be the cost of corrections of poorly designed products, achieves interracial products and wider markets around the world, increase customer’s pleasure and comfort with the product and improves the company’s credit.


  • Pheasant, S. , Haslegrave, C. M. (2006) . Bodyspace: Anthropometry, Ergonomics and the Design of Work . (3rd edition), CRC Press
  • MIL-STD-46855 Human Engineering Requirements for Military Systems, Equipment, and Facilities (2011)
  • MIL-HDBK-759 Human Engineering Design Guidelines (2012)
  • MIL-STD-1472 Human Engineering (2012)
  • MIL-HDBK-1908 Definitions of Human Factors Terms (1999)