A chair should be judged by one’s pants, a jewel by the light in a lady’s eyes, a typewriter by the hovering fingers.
Time Magazine, On good design, 12 January 1959
When this quote was written, the study of human-machine interaction from a psychological perspective was in its infancy. Today, over 40 years later, we have a greater understanding of the design issues associated with human-machine interactions and work environments. This is in part due to the growing discipline of Ergonomics/Human Factors psychology. In 1996, for example, the International Ergonomics Association (IEA) had thirty-five federated and affiliated member societies. Today, this has grown to thirty-nine member societies. In 1996 there were about 17,000 ergonomists representing forty-five countries involved in professional activities under the umbrella of the IEA. The true number is likely to be higher given that the IEA does not include student members, associates or retired members. Further, some ergonomists do not belong to a professional organisation—some estimates place this at around 40 per cent. Finally, these figures are from 1996 and the overall trend has been towards an annual increase in numbers.
Although the IEA includes countries from around the world, there is greater representation from some areas. Geographical areas that are well-represented include Australasia, Japan, Northern Europe, North America and Scandinavia. Although several new societies are currently being formed, there is comparably little ergonomic representation (and therefore, activity) in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. This is important from the perspective of where the research is primarily being carried out and from where the material has been gathered in order to write this book. It has to be stated from the outset that this book has been written from a developed-world perspective. No attempt has been made to consider human-machine interactions and working conditions in communities and cultures where the emphasis is on manual labour rather than technologically driven systems. Writing such a book would indeed pose a considerable challenge. However, when considering the distribution of the world’s population, relatively few