Typically, I take in criticism of ergonomics quite calmly because, to a certain degree, I also doubt the extent to which ergonomics can change the course of a workday.
Most of Ulanoff’s two ergonomics posts are devoted to how he can’t type.
I’ve seen people who over years of pecking at keys have become quite good/efficient/quick at it. Hell, we all know that the QWERTY setup was meant to slow us down, so it should really be no surprise that there are people out there who can type quite quickly without resting on the home keys.
But, pecking is not typing.
Moreover, it’d be damn-near impossible for an engineer to design something that would be ergonomically useful for the masses if he’s basing the design on one rouge user pecking at an example keyboard. That’s like someone inventing a new way to write and starting with a made up language that only the inventor knows!
Mr. Ulanoff continues his diatribe on the Microsoft wireless products defaming American culture. He sites the Chinese as hard workers, who never take naps during work. Now, I’ll admit that his statements were probably meant to be a bit tongue in cheek…BUT, let’s face it: if the Chinese were so freaking advanced, they wouldn’t be taking American made products, attempting to reverse engineer them and then resell them for 1/2 the price.
Of course, one other thing to note is that the Chinese government had to exectue the director of their [equivalent] FDA for approving drugs that were known to increase the chance of death, etc. Meaning, HUMAN RIGHTS issues.
Is Mr. Ulanoff even going so far to say that manufacture-based labor is not worthy of ergonomically designed workspaces? I’m sure he is quite comfy at his desk job compared to the near-slave labor of “$45 per month” (his #, not mine), so the slight jump from ‘bad’ keyboard to ‘best of the best’ may not make much of an impact. Well, duh! You’re already a spoiled American-Brat! What did you expect!
Maybe I’m being to harsh; should we can ask him What kind of desk chair do you have? Are you able to adjust it?
Better yet, Mr. Ulanoff: are you allowed to leave your desk for a break (water, loo, whatever)?
That one “ergonomic trick” could be what’s making such a difference for you already and you wouldn’t even know it.
One other thing, Mr. Ulanoff! When our stone-aged relatives were kickin’ it in their stone homes, stone chairs and stone beds (i.e. rocks, boulders, etc), the life expectancy was about 20 to 35 years…
So, what’s that you’re saying about product design? You don’t think what?
Oh, practically nothing…that’s right…practically nothing…
For a more sober reaction to his post, check this site out.
Here’s a pull quote on how they would have helped Mr. Ulanoff:
“In Ulanoff’s case, a true ergonomic intervention based on ErgoWeb’s definition, would have started with his input as to his concerns followed by an assessment of his work environment and his work methods. Typing style would have been observed and, being a hunt-and-pecker (one of the safer typing styles), a change in keyboard would not likely have been recommended unless the evaluation pinpointed a specific concern. The intervention would also have addressed some of the following: length of time at the keyboard, placement of the monitor and keyboard, location of the mouse, posture, response to stress when meeting work deadlines, and environmental factors (noise, lighting, glare, clutter). Checking back with Ulanoff after a brief interval to see if his concerns had been alleviated and his issues resolved (if he had any to begin with) would have gone a long way towards diminishing any ill will.”
I guess at the end of the day, I’m scratching my head wondering who in the right mind gave this Mr. Ulanoff-guy a job.