How does ergonomics-employee co-design work ?

Co-design consists in taking the user into account throughout the process so that he can understand the issues and objectives while being an actor in the project, so that the designer makes sure to respond correctly to his needs.

Why use co-design ?

The use of co-design constitutes major challenges for designers and users such as:

  • Needs analysis:
    As part of a project to integrate technological solutions (such as exoskeletons), it is very important to analyze the needs of the organization that wishes to invest in these devices but also of the end users who will use them. It allows, thanks to the involvement of users, to make them actors of the project to better understand and identify their needs (expressed or latent). Co-design promotes exchanges (between designer, organization and user) and facilitates the analysis of the request made by the ergonomist.
  • The response to needs:
    The data collected by the ergonomist during the analysis is confirmed by the user, to ensure the correct targeting of the right needs. The teams in charge of the design save time on the proposal of a solution adapted to the needs and issues.
  • Acceptance and use:
    Throughout the project, users become co-designers of the solution and this promotes acceptance of the device as well as its proper use. In addition, the involvement of future users makes it possible to create a feeling of belonging to the final product, which is an integral part of their thinking.
How to implement it ?

Co-design must follow a well-defined approach to be properly implemented:

  • Employees activity analysis:
    We will add to the approach interviews on workstations which allow us to discuss with the employee about his own activity. It makes it possible to target the activity and to associate the observable (the performance of the task, the employee's observations on his workstation) with what is not (feelings, opinions, etc.). This is the opportunity for the ergonomist to "touch" the activity (feel the weight, the assets, the constraints, the techniques, ...) and to initiate a relationship with an employee.
  • Taking into account material constraints:
    This consideration is carried out at 2 levels to be effective: at the employee level and at the design level.
    At the employee level, it is necessary to understand his environment and the constraints he faces while working. These constraints must be taken into account when we want to achieve a technological design. Either we have to come to terms with whether they can be removed or find a solution to eradicate them. At the design level, the constraints to be identified concern the integration of the solution into the environment.
  • Brainstorming/Card Sorting/Discussion groupe/Design by scenario:
    All these working methods make it possible to develop avenues for reflection in a small group. They make it possible to materialize work processes (for example in the form of concept maps with "post-its") to ensure that we share the same definition.
Design phase

Based on the previous phases, designers and developers will materialize solutions. These can take different forms, from the sketch to the mock-up until the final product, including intermediate stages such as dynamic mock-up and prototypes. It is a question of proposing solutions in various forms allowing rapid changes which will make it possible to validate the design choices. These steps make it possible to easily explore design alternatives and validate them with users, through tests and trials, and finally to improve the quality of functional specificities.

Installation and follow-up

After the design phase, the product is finalized and implemented in the work activity. The research work carried out upstream is done so that the final product meets expectations and can meet the needs of what it was designed. However, there are many issues that can arise after installation. This is the reason why a follow-up is ensured to improve the product and the avenues for reflection.