Designing usable procedures – “neck-up” ergonomics

A common problem in many technical organisations is their procedures, which are effectively an interface on a piece of paper. They can be lengthy, complex, hard to navigate and read, and many do not contain or fully-describe critical task steps. The author has written down all they know about a subject using complex technical language and acronyms. The user struggles to understand. If this sounds familiar, read on!

The Keil Centre’s Australian consultants have recently completed a large project for a multi-national petrochemicals manufacturer, which did the following:

  • Developed a simple structure for categorising all business documents
  • Defined ergonomic standards for identifying the content of procedures, and presenting the content on the page
  • Included a means to identify and manage the potential for human error at each task step
  • Re-drafted the entire control of work system, in partnership with internal subject-matter experts
  • Trained a cadre of document authors and reviewers in the new approach.

The revised documents have been well-received by the users – “shorter, simpler, clearer, easier to understand”. 

Read more about The Keil Centre’s expertise in developing and evaluating procedures.

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