Ergonomics and Your Mobile Device
While most manufacturers of mobile devices may list “ergonomic” as a feature on the devices’ spec sheet, it’s definitely not a feature that should be taken lightly. A good ergonomically engineered device will keep workers happy and productive on the job.
To a mobile workforce, the tools they are given can make a huge difference in how they perform their job. If their mobile device is cumbersome or awkward/difficult to use, workers will become frustrated and both productivity and morale will suffer.
In order to properly evaluate the ergonomics of a device, the following should be considered:
Comfortable Outer Shell
The body of a mobile device should match the contour of a worker’s hand and offer easy access to the keypad for maximum comfort. When examining the shell, ask yourself, “Does the handheld rest comfortably in a user’s hand?, Is it slip-resistant in wet conditions?, Are there extra gripping points that lock the user’s hand in place?.” While some devices feature a metal body, which is strong, it is better to look for devices that offer texturized plastics and also ones that integrate rubber into the handle for an easy grip.
The size, spacing, shape, color and text of they keys are all elements that should be considered when choosing a mobile device. Depending on how the mobile device will be used, it is also important to consider whether or not a QWERTY keyboard is necessary.
Easily Viewable Display
Since the display is the primary interface of the device, it is an extremely important aspect. If your mobile computer is going to be used in harsh environments, its best to choose a display with superior protection so it will be less prone to breakage. For less harsh environments, a display with a high image quality and reduced level of protection would be better. Angled displays also help workers, since they would not have to adjust their wrists for barcode scanning, keeping workers comfortable and more productive. In addition, angled displays can prevent a strong glare from overhead lighting.
While “ergonomic” may just be a bullet on a spec sheet, all of these factors should be considered when deciding if a device is truly ergonomic for your workforce.