Friday, April 28, 2006

Inspiration v perspiration

Sometimes it amazes me how places to apply HF are conceived. I generally promote the scientific method. Wade out into the tides of the user population, observing and collecting ethnographic, naturalistic data that illustrates their true needs. Then quantify and prioritize the needs through surveys, stratification, and statistical analysis.

But the inspiration method works pretty well too. I was reading an article in Industrial Safety and Hygiene News and I had a great brainstorm (helped along by the author's idea). If workers with different skill sets have different color uniforms or at least parts of the uniform, it could be very helpful in situations were faces are not recognizable. This could be in smoky facilities, over far distances, when workers wear goggles or face masks, etc. The uniforms (or patches) could signify many things that would be useful. In an emergency, it would be fast and easy to recognize who has partcicular skills like hazmat or medical. People who are from other departments could be recognized, either for security or safety reasons. An application of HF that I had never thought of before materialized right before my eyes.

Of course I would verify the need and marketability of the idea before investing my life savings in a start-up venture. My quantitative bones couldn't handle the uncertainty otherwise.