User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am a user experience researcher working primary on websites. I am considering shifting to the hardware domain and I am wondering what kind of general reference resources are out there about hardware usability. By hardware I mean any physical products like computer, handheld devices, webcam, mouse, keyboard, etc.

share|improve this question
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Hardware usability is covered well by the domain of human factors engineering (a.k.a., engineering psychology, ergonomics). A textbook in that area is a great way to get background (e.g., Christopher Wicken’s Engineering Psychology and Human Performance). There’s probably a book on human factors specifically emphasizing consumer electronics. Lord knows they need it.

There also various US government standards and guidelines that emphasize usable hardware, such as:

  • MIL-STD 1472 DOD Design Criteria Standard: Human Engineering

  • MIL-HDBK 759 DOD Handbook for Human Engineering Design Guidelines

  • DOT/FAA/CT-96/1 FAA Human Factors Design Guide

These were written for high-risk applications, but they apply just as well to consumer electronics.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.