AHFE Newsletters
October 2012
Number 34


Book Review: Handbook of Human Factors & Ergonomics, 4th edition, Gavriel Salvendy (Editor)

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Book Review: Handbook of Human Factors & Ergonomics, Gavriel Salvendy (Editor),
4th edition, Wiley and Sons, Inc, Hoboken, NJ, 2012

The remarkable 4th edition of the Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics once again provides in-depth analyses of a broad range of vital topics – 61 chapters in 1732 pages. The editor, Gavriel Salvendy, applied his ample persuasive skills and considerable energies to enlist key researchers from around the world. He’s motivated them to write informative and well-documented articles that cover human factors theories and practice.
While Salvendy shaped the book to meet the needs of “human factors and ergonomics researchers, practitioners, and graduate students” I believe that this Handbook will have wider impact and benefits for the growing number of academics, professionals, and government agency staffers who work on workplace environments, information technologies, medical devices, consumer electronics, and personal technologies. Reaching these larger circles of professionals would help strengthen awareness of the scientific advances and commercial importance in this growing and influential discipline. I’ll be encouraging colleagues in many related areas to add this book to their libraries.

Human factors and ergonomics researchers and professionals can take pride and substantial credit for the vast growth of powerful, yet widely used technologies. While anyone who sees modern aircraft cockpits, medical operating theaters, or financial trader workstations will be impressed by their capabilities, it is equally inspiring to realize that there are 5 billion users of cell phones and handheld mobile devices. These successes and many others are due to those who worked on the human factors and user interface design of these technologies. While we can’t say how many were directly influenced by the first three editions of this Handbook, it seems certain that the intellectual foundations covered in these chapters have and will continue to propel the design of successful human-centered technologies.

The two opening chapters provide excellent overviews with histories, frameworks, and references. I found Endsley’s chapter on “Situation Awareness”, Sheridan’s “Human Supervisory Control”, and the section on “Evaluation” especially interesting.

My review of the 4th Edition focused on the 9 articles in the section on Human-Computer Interaction. Since my own interests emphasize “Information Visualization” I was pleased to find North’s chapter to be an excellent overview with many appropriate examples and references. While the chapter on online communities did a good job in describing foundations, an updated description of the hot area of social media is already necessary. The extensive reviews of “Usability Testing” and “Website Design” would be helpful to newcomers and more seasoned professionals, but these fields are also changing rapidly. Stephanidis completes this section with two broad articles that deal with emerging topics. I especially appreciated his call for universal usability: ”Design for all in the information society is the conscious and systematic effort to proactively apply principles and methods and employ appropriate tools in order to develop information technology and telecommunications products and services which are accessible and usable by all citizens, thus avoiding the need for a posteriori adaptations or specialized design.”
The ensuing section on “Design for Individual Differences” has four valuable chapters to remind readers about the range of users: children/elders, abled/disabled, novice/expert, etc. The final section on application areas also interested me, especially the strong chapter on healthcare.

In summary, the 4th Edition of the Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics, does exactly what such monster books should do: it provides broad coverage of an important discipline, indepth reviews of specific topics, and ample references to dig deeper. Some articles are very strong and current, others need freshening to deal with emerging topics and newer references. Overall, I strongly recommend this valuable handbook with a tantalizing buffet of useful information and a harmonious symphony of provocative ideas.

Ben Shneiderman, University of Maryland

Front matter and TOC

Specialized Journal and Newsletters

“The Health and Safety Report,” The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), September 2012.

“Human Factor sand Ergonomics Society Bulletin,”, Volume 55, Number 9. September 2012.

“Ergonomics in Design: The Quarterly of Human Factors Applications,” HFES, July 2012.

“Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making”, HFES , September 2012; 6 (3)

NIOSH eNews, Volume 10 Number 5 September, 2012.

DoD Ergonomics Working Group NEWS, Issue 129, Sept/Oct 2012.


Interesting Articles

Why Can Some People Recall Every Day Of Their Lives? Brain Scans Offer Clues," NPR, 20, August, 2012.

“Deaf gerbils hear again with human stem cells,” Reuters, Sep 12, 2012.

“Teens' Late-Night Cellphone Use Linked with Mental Health Problems.” Live Science 28 September 2012

“Increased Hospital Infections Linked to Nurse Burnout,” Science Daily, Sep. 27, 2012.

Upcoming Conferences 2012

October 2012

1- 4 October. 2012: Ergonomics and Human Factors: Strategic Solutions for Workplace Safety and Health (EHF1012), Boston, Massachusetts, United States.

9- 10 October. 2012: Human and Organizational Factors in the Oil, Gas & Chemical Industries, Aberdeen, UK.

22- 26 October, 2012: HFES 56th Annual Meeting, Westin Boston Waterfront, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

November 2012

12-13 November 2012: Improving Patient Safety with Human Factors Methods, Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

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Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics International NEWS

The Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics International NEWS is a newsletter about Ergonomics and Human Factors topics, the Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics International 2014 conference deadlines and activities, the Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics International 2014 Exhibition, news in the area of Ergonomics and Human Factors, and more. If you have any questions or comments, or if you would like to contribute, please contact the editor, Dr. Abbas Moallem (abbas.moallem@sjsu.edu). The opinions that are expressed in this Newsletter are the sole responsibility of its authors and do not represent any institution or company.

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