Human Factors & Industrial Engineering

Human factors is the scientific discipline concerned with the interactions of humans with products, with their environment, and within processes.  As such, it applies knowledge about human capabilities and limitations to the investigation of accidents, to the mitigation of hazards, and to the design of products.  Individual factors include cognition, attention, perception, memory, and decision-making; body size, strength, and dexterity; and the ability and willingness to process and react to information.  Potential influences on human behavior include such factors as visibility, sound levels, and disclosures of all manner; for example, warning labels and other manufacturer-generated or -provided materials.  The application of human factors spans a wide range of different and diverse industries, such as transportation (e.g., automotive, aviation, rail), medical and pharmaceutical, industrial (e.g., construction equipment, process control rooms), consumer products (e.g., electronics, child products), food, and clothing.

Exponent’s human factors staff holds Ph.D.-level degrees in a variety of disciplines including experimental psychology, cognitive neuroscience, industrial and systems engineering, and kinesiology. We have extensive experience examining issues related to human performance, user experience, and ergonomics, and we use this experience to investigate a wide array of scenarios such as automobile, motorcycle, bicycle, train/railroad, and trucking accidents; alleged medical device- or medication-related injuries; industrial and occupational accidents; injuries associated with consumer products; and trip-and-fall incidents.  We also leverage this experience in the evaluation of, and consulting for, products under development; for example, in the context of FDA medical device, pharmaceutical, or cosmetic approval or clearance, or in the development of product labeling.  In doing so, we utilize such methods as usability tests, label comprehension tests, analysis of large databases, hazard/risk analyses, observations, online surveys, focus groups, user interviews, eye tracking, balance testing, and others.

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What We Do: Human Factors & Industrial Engineering

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