red horizontal rule

16 Tips To Help Ensure Good Ergonomic Design In New Tech Tools

Published by 

While there’s more focus than ever on providing a good user interface/user experience in new tech tools, that doesn’t just mean adding lots of “wow” functionality. To ensure the best UX, it’s important for hardware and software developers to also pay attention to ergonomic design. A focus on ergonomics ensures that the tool is adapted to foster comfort and convenience for the human user—that is, the human should inform how the tool works, not the other way around. 

While the concept is simple enough, implementing it can be challenging, as designers must take account of factors ranging from device sizes to color palettes. Here, 16 members of Forbes Technology Council share tips to help developers ensure they’ve incorporated good ergonomic design principles in their products.

1. Remember Physical, Cognitive And Organizational Design

Size, weight, shape and the position of buttons and controls are all aspects that contribute to a product being ergonomically designed. Designers need to take a broader view, considering physical, cognitive and organizational ergonomic design and including accessibility. Improving ergonomics requires specific focus during the overall process. Conduct contextual research with your users, and always test your solution with users. – Praveen Desai, Impaqtive US Corp

2. Put Ergonomics And Intuition Before Beauty

Real beauty lies within, wise people say—but too many deny it. Developers are no different from the rest of society in this regard. They often focus too much on creating a visually perfect solution. They forget that it is supposed to be, above all, useful and intuitive. Let’s follow the holistic view of UX strategy, put ergonomics before design and create intuitive interfaces. – Robert Strzelecki, TenderHut

3. Watch First-Time Users Engage With It

Understanding user behavior is essential for creating a good UI/UX. Users of today’s popular apps have developed a certain set of typical gestures and navigational techniques. Add this to a simple user interface to decrease the number of times users navigate and click. An effective testing method is to put the app in the hands of first-time users and watch them engage; a single-eye view is the best strategy. – Madhavi Shankar, SpaceBasic

4. Don’t Overwhelm Users With Choices

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. People are overwhelmed with choices. The paradox of choice leads us to analysis paralysis or worse: I feel stupid for not understanding what to do. That emotion is then associated with your product, regardless of the value you think you’re providing. The best UI delivers “just in time” optionality with privacy-considerate “anticipatory” shortcuts. – Steve Shillingford,

5. Test On A Variety Of Screen Sizes

People consume information on screens of all shapes and sizes. A good UI/UX ergonomic design must adapt to a mobile device (small screen), a tablet (mid-size screen), a laptop (large screen) and the now common extra-large HD/4K screen. Developers must test on a variety of screen sizes to ensure good layout, navigation, color contrast and font sizes—and that all are easy on the eyes. – Henri Isenberg, ReviewInc

6. Remember The Aging Population

Designers must remember that many aging users will use their products. Those who have stared at computer screens for decades often have impacted eyesight and hearing. Larger-print screens, adjustable font sizes and distinct sounds are needed to support the aging population. – Laureen Knudsen, Broadcom

7. Consider Functional Diversity

Often overlooked are design solutions that are accessible to people with functional diversity (such as vision problems). Something that can be very helpful is to incorporate left-handed configuration profiles, as well as to test the solution both by using one hand and two hands. And finally, involve a diverse group of users to carry out the tests, and collect feedback. – Miguel Llorca, Torrent Group

8. Don’t Forget The ‘Reduce Unnecessary Motions’ Principle

The “reduce unnecessary motions” principle is often overlooked in both software and hardware design. Aiming at achieving a “one-button-does-all” design, developers often forget that that single button might necessitate additional actions to be taken by the user to perform important, frequent actions, which will eventually waste their time. For example, in the automobile industry, touch screen overuse is a commonly known issue. – Aleks Farseev,

9. Consider The Changing Roles Of Users

The role of the user is a critical design factor. A user might be a specialist or a manager, and as responsibilities change, they might use tools in different ways. Designing technology for a user’s evolving role as they grow in responsibility is particularly important in a world of changing skill sets and responsibilities. – Agur J√µgi, Pipedrive

10. Keep Touch Screen Target Size In Mind

Remember to think about target size. On touch screens, make sure you design with enough space for the average human finger to easily hit the correct buttons and other controls. Apple recommends a target size of at least 44 pixels wide and 44 pixels tall. – Kevin Philpott, Pie Insurance

11. Be Careful With Colors And Shades

Accessibility-focused design for differently abled and health-impacted people is still often overlooked. For example, designers are missing out when it comes to the approximately 300 million people in the world who are colorblind. Grappling with hues and shades deteriorates the user experience for people with color vision deficiency. It’s an issue that can easily be overcome by using textures. – Yasin Altaf, GoodCore Software

12. Think About The Psychological Aspects Of The UX

One ergonomic design principle that is often neglected is the ease of use. Nothing is more annoying for customers than taking up their time trying to figure out how to use a product or where to begin. It is critical to comprehend how the psychological aspects of a product’s UX—such as decision making, stress, pleasure, and cultural and religious differences—affect the user. – Ashish Fernando, iSchoolConnect

13. Keep Actions Within Easy Reach

Keep actions within easy reach of users. On mobile, this is near the bottom of the screen, but on desktop, it could be near the content that you know the user is looking at. People assume that what they want should be right in front of them, so hiding actions in menus at the top of the screen will mean they are not found before the person loses interest. – Luke Wallace, Bottle Rocket

14. Include Adjustable Settings

One ergonomic design principle that tech hardware/software developers often neglect is the need for adjustable settings. Many people use technology for long periods of time, and it is important to be able to adjust the settings to fit each individual’s needs. This includes things like font size, screen brightness and volume. – Fabio Moioli, Microsoft

15. Account For Device Switching

Universal device support for accessibility and usability is mandatory. Laptops have surpassed dual monitors and mobile phones as the preferred workspace, with users alternating between touchscreen, trackpad and mouse. The fact that today’s users frequently switch between devices with varying screen sizes is an important factor that should be considered when designing for comfort. – Chintan Shah, Brainvire InfoTech Inc.

16. Test With A Diverse User Base

Usability testing with a diverse user base is often ignored and/or overlooked. It’s important to understand that different users will use the system differently. So it is crucial to solicit user feedback regarding usability early on and to ensure that the team conducts usability testing to validate that the feedback has been incorporated. – Selva Pandian, DemandBlue

This article was originally published on


Unlock Growth
red horizontal rule

Experience experts weigh in on their top strategies for our most successful clients.