Station Design – Ergonomic Considerations Ray Conrad KT4W PVRC Contest College
Considerations for the Modern Station • Functional Considerations • Ergonomics • Additional Considerations • A few funny stories • Presentation draws upon many guest appearances • Thanks to those who sent photos, and to those whose photos are on the web
Functional Considerations • Contest stations have evolved • Pencil and paper (until ~1985) • Computer aided operation (starting ~1985) driven by innovations • Computer software • Allowed SO2R • Packet • Station design must accommodate the human user! • Proper design helps reduce operator fatigue
Workstation design considers the user • Who is the user? • Single OP? • So, fit yourself • Multi-op? • More considerations • Does tall one hit his head? • Short one, can she reach? • Can you accommodate users from 5 feet tall to about 6 foot 4 inches?
Fundamentals of computer workstation design • Establish proper sitting height • Feet flat on floor • Weight supported in chair pan, little pressure on back of thighs • Arms are horizontal • Now, set the keyboard height • Correct keyboard height allows wrists to be in neutral position • Finally, set monitor height • Height should be allow eyes to look down slightly from the horizontal • Avoid sharp edges on desks which are pressure points
Some common issues • Chairs are not adjusted properly • Read the owner’s manual!! • Chairs do not support large users – giving pressure points in the buttocks • Tables are frequently too high for keyboards • Keyboard height is a major consideration • Monitors are too high, sometimes much too high
Other Display Considerations • Display • Correct RX for font and distance • Do NOT tip your head to use reading bifocal • Glare Sources • Overhead lights • Windows behind user • Task lights shining on screen • Flicker or jitter • Re-position, possible grounding and EMI issues
More Ergonomic Considerations • Acoustic Noise • Equipment Blowers • Building HVAC, esp. heat pump blowers and oil fired furnaces • Appliances • Washer, dryer, dishwasher, plumbing noises • Inter-operator noise • “Are you operating from a hotel?” • Is the room live? Hard walls, floors and ceilings? • Family Considerations • Do NOT put shack under the bedrooms!! • 4 year old: “Mommy said she is going to hit you with a stick.”
Designing for multi-op • Quick tests of user friendly stations • Is a long tutorial needed before a guest can operate? • Do guest “break” your station? • Logical grouping of displays and controls • Top rotor box controls top antenna • Bottom rotor box controls bottom antenna • Controls should give expected results • Up is on; down is off – USA, but v.v. in England • What happens when a knob is turned clockwise? • Antenna rotation if switch is moved to the right?
Case studies • Participants should have a sharper eye for design criteria • Critique stations shown • What’s good in each design? • Offer suggestions for improvements • Take away good ideas • Bring forward lessons learned from your station