A collection of papers that I’ve had published. They are primarily academic in their nature.

Agile and User centred design

Avoiding Project Failure: Putting People First

(Contemporary Ergonomics 2008)

The consistent failure of software development projects to deliver what is expected of them is a significant headache for businesses. It has been claimed that only around a third of such projects can be regarded as successful and that one of the primary reasons for this lack of success is poor requirements management. Requirements are what drive any development process, yet without a shared understanding between those who produce the requirements (the business), those who turn them into tangible software (the developers) and those who ultimately use the software (the end-users), project failure becomes ever more likely. Using a case study this paper discusses the use of participatory techniques and lightweight models to describe and explore the problem and its potential solutions; applying highly iterative, feedback-driven and people-centred techniques from the outset to provide clarity in what is really required and so position teams for success. [download pdf]

User Centred Design in Agile Application Development

(Contemporary Ergonomics 2006)

Agile methods are becoming increasingly common in application design, with their collaborative customer focus and iterative, test driven approach. They share many common principles, yet it is rare for Agile methods to incorporate user centred design. This paper argues that by incorporating user-centred design (and in particular using low fidelity prototyping as an iterative model for the application rather than time consuming code) better applications can be developed, delivering business benefit with a focus upon the end user and their experience. [download pdf]

Rapid design and the online experience: incorporating the human factor into the process

(Contemporary Ergonomics 2001)

The need for usability in creating online services is well documented. However, there are still many online services that fail to engage the user and are difficult to use. In addressing the need for good design, this paper discusses a rapid and intensive process for the evolution of a value proposition, and its realisation as an online service. Key to the process is the incorporation of timely feedback from the customers themselves and involvement of all key stakeholders. This includes qualitative analysis of the interaction between customers and the prototype service in a dedicated suite. The results of these design evaluation sessions are promptly fed back into the design process, helping to ensure usability, engagement and satisfaction for customers on service release. [download pdf | view in google books]

Ergonomics / human factors

Ergonomics in post-harvest agro-processing

(African newsletter on occupational health and safety, 2005, 15(1)) [download pdf from source]

Practical considerations for undertaking ergonomics research in rural sub-Saharan Africa

(Contemporary Ergonomics 2001) [view in google books]

Investigation into Heat Stress in subsistence Agriculture in Ghana

(Evaluation and control of warm working conditions, 1999) [download pdf from source]

Ergonomics evaluation of a manually operated cassava chipping machine

(Applied Ergonomics 1999, 30 (6))

A manually operated machine for chipping cassava was evaluated. Six farmers took part in the study, with physiological, postural, and subjective measurements being taken. Using the machine resulted in drudgery and postural discomfort. Following an iterative design process and using appropriate anthropometric measurements, an improved, adjustable prototype was developed. This was tested with the six farmers and six novice users. It was found to reduce discomfort and physiological strain, allowed a faster work-rate (with novice users) and was preferred by all users. The study demonstrated how ergonomics can play an important role in reducing drudgery and improving user satisfaction in technology development and transfer in developing countries. [download pdf]

The appropriateness of international heat stress standards for use in tropical agricultural environments

(Ergonomics 1999, 42(6))

Where a danger to health from heat stress is identified, standards allow decisions for implementing measures to reduce the heat stress to be made. These standards, specifically ISO 7243 (Wet Bulb Globe Temperature Index, WBGT) and ISO 7933 (Sweat Required, SWreq) were designed with European and American subjects, primarily for use in those countries. Whilst the scope of the standards is international, little consideration has been made as to how valid and usable they are in industrially developing countries. This investigation evaluated ISO 7933 and ISO 7243 in terms of validity and usability. A tropical agricultural task was simulated; 16 subjects plucking tea leaves for 2 hours, (ta = tr = 37.18oC; va = 0.16m/s; rh = 70.17%). Whilst ISO 7243 was found to be valid (if slightly over protective) and usable, ISO 7933 was over protective and underestimated sweat and evaporation rates in its predictions. The discrepancies between predicted and observed results were attributed primarily to the calculations related to clothing in the standard. Furthermore, ISO 7933 was found to be unusable without a computer; in regions where access to such technology may be limited, a simpler method of presentation is required. [download pdf]

Occupational disorders in Ghanaian Subsistence Farmers

(Contemporary Ergonomics 1998)

A survey of 100 (male) subsistence farmers in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana was undertaken to identify the predominant causes of ill-health in this sector of the population. Injuries from cutlass accidents and back pain were found to be prevalent (79% and 76% respectively), with back pain being the more debilitating accounting for, on average, 19 days lost from work. A greater number of working days were lost from gunshot wounds (60), broken bones (38) and snakebites (29), but these were less prevalent. The use of handtools was heavily implicated in many of the activities associated with the onset of ill-health. It is concluded that improved designs of handtools could increase the farmers’ productivity and quality of life. [download pdf]

Heat Stress in Night-Clubs

(Contemporary Ergonomics 1996)

An Internet survey of behaviour, attitudes and opinions of regular club-goers found that night-clubs were considered to be hot or very hot places where many respondents experienced heat related illnesses. The thermal conditions of a night-club were measured (maximum 29OC air temperature, 90% relative humidity) and simulated in a thermal chamber. Four male and four female subjects danced for one hour. The results showed a rise in core temperature (mean=1.80C, sd=0.26) and skin temperature (mean=1.340C, sd=0.48) and a sweat rate of almost 1l/h. Subjects generally felt hot and sticky, preferring to be cooler. The physiological responses compared well with predictions from ISO 7933 and the 2-node model of human thermoregulation (Nishi & Gagge, 1977). The predicted effects of continuous dancing for four hours gave a core body temperature increase to 39.10C, well above the WHO limit of 380C in occupational settings. Using ISO 7933 appropriate work-rest schedules for dancing and water requirements were suggested. [download pdf | view in google books]

Ergonomics in Industrially Developing Countries

(This was published somewhere, just can’t remember where or when!)
Ergonomics in developing countries is now a recognized area of activity but whether it differs from the traditional study of ergonomics has not been made clear. This paper aims to provide a systematic review of the issues and activities in the application of ergonomics in industrially developing countries, considering whether there are differences between ergonomics in industrialized countries and in developing countries; in terms of philosophy, aims and approach. Can ergonomics be prescribed in a ‘pure’ form according to its western methodology, or is it to be adapted to the situation context? Ergonomics as an important discipline in overseas development is discussed, both as an approach to individual differences (micro-ergonomics) and as an approach to the broader socio-cultural factors (macro-ergonomics). [download pdf]

The effects of Solar radiation on human thermoregulatory system: Experimental investigation into thermal strain caused by solar radiation


Present methods for evaluating heat stress do not adequately accommodate for the effects of solar radiation. Heat stress whilst working outdoors in hot environments is a potential hazard, especially in industrially developing countries where a large proportion of workers are involved in agriculture. In order to conduct an ergonomics analysis of such working environments, methods that allow the short wave solar component of radiation to be incorporated should be considered. This paper thus considers solar radiation, its effects on the human thermoregulatory system and presents an experimental investigation into thermal strain caused by solar radiation. 6 Subjects performed a step test in outdoor conditions with a solar load, (ta=21oC, rh=46oC, v=1.01m/s, WBGT=18.50oC), repeating this in similar conditions in a thermal chamber with no solar load. The difference in sweat loss between the conditions was attributed to the increased load from solar radiaiton. In the conditions measured, with a cloudy sky and a low direct solar radiation the radiation incident on the human thermoregulatory system was 82W/m2. Two existing models for solar radiation were validated and more accurate estimates for radiation in outdoor conditions were proposed. [download pdf]