I'm trying to define UX vs. ergonomics so I'm searching the web for good examples to illustrate both of them.

Have you have any pictures or examples of mobile app or websites that could be considered as a good example of what is UX related to another picture (on the same project) that could be seen as a good example of what is ergonomics and why?

Edit :

Sorry if my request wasn't clear. Let's sum up : I know that ergonomics is part of UX. I know that ergonomics was here before UX. But that's not the point. UX and ergonomics are different things, and I'm trying to find visual examples that show these differences.

This is the kind of examples I'm looking for. From https://medium.com/@maximebou/2-min-pour-comprendre-la-diff%C3%A9rence-entre-ergonomie-et-ux-design-a6bb534f0c1a.

In this post, here's what the author tells in french (trying to sum up the point, not a valid translation):

This is a screen from the Uber app. On this screen, the pointer on the map which shows your position is ergonomics. Knowing that there are 4 nearby Uber drivers is also ergonomics. But showing their position on the map is about UX: it shows that the service is close to you, ready to fullfil your request.

Hope it's my question is more clear this way :)

Edit 2:

Here's a definition of ergonomics (in french Ergonomie IHM - IHM stands for "Interface Homme Machine") that is commonly accepted (in France, at least): it's the way to design UI that can be used easily, with comfort and efficiency/efficacy (not sure of the right translation here again - in French, I would use "efficacité et efficience").

To sum up : ergonomics ("ergonomie IHM") is there to design UIs that do the job, where UX is more global (but includes ergonomics) and (to quote Nielsen) make products enjoyable to own / to use.

Now that I define the terminology I'm using, I guess the right translation of the french "ergonomie IHM" should be usability or simply UI (in my mind UI contains the graphical part of the UI, which I exclude here) ?

In the example I've quoted above, considering the terminology I'm using, this makes sense: there's no need for the user to see that Uber service found 4 drivers nearby (and it could be qualified as useless to point them on the map) when he just need one to book. It just makes the user feel that Uber can provide more than he needs, feels like Uber is everywhere, ready to fullfil his (future) needs.

  • 2
    Ergonomics/human Factors is a part of UX, so not sure what are you looking for. As a matter of fact, many people will argue that UX is the evolution of ergonomics with new disciplines that were added to that original discipline. If interested in UX history, check uxpanol.com/historia-de-la-experiencia-de-usuario/… (you'll need to translate with Google if you don't know Spanish)
    – Devin
    Jan 5, 2018 at 17:52
  • Not understanding your request. You want an app or website that illustrates the differences between UX and Ergonomics? You want an info-graphic showing the difference? Can you provide an example of what you are looking for?
    – Nicolas
    Jan 6, 2018 at 0:12
  • @Devin Many people will argue that UX is the evolution of ergonomics, and many more won't. But that's not the point. Jan 6, 2018 at 11:24
  • @NicolasHung Sorry, I can understand my request isn't quite clear. I'm adding examples of what I'm looking for as an edit. Jan 6, 2018 at 11:26
  • "UX and ergonomics are different things" - Well, sure, yeah, but... What are the definitions of these concepts you are using? Explaining what you mean by each might create some shared understanding here. I'd be interested to see how your definitions enable the fuzzy statement "but showing their positions on the map is about UX".
    – dennislees
    Jan 7, 2018 at 4:32

4 Answers 4


My understanding is that ergonomics specifically targets physical properties of the human body. For example:

  • If you are a pilot - what is the optimal helmet size, that balances a good view, feels good on the head, and provides sufficient protection?
  • If you're wearing headphones - how heavy is too heavy?
  • For military personnel - what is the optimal angle for the pocket, to reach out for a new clip during combat?
  • For car dashboards - what is the optimal colour to use, that provides good contrast at night, but is not too bright?

This is about things you can measure - lengths, angles, curvatures, etc.

A specific example for your context, i.e., web and mobile, would be awareness of the size of a phone while deciding where to place the widgets:

Reachability of areas on a mobile screen, for right-handed thumb navigation

UX is something aimed at the cognitive layer of end users - how the complexity of tasks is perceived, how well the interface fits into their mental model of what is going on.

These things can be measured too, you can measure how long it takes to complete a task, for example. There are also questionnaires that you can use to get other types of quantitative data (e.g., SUS, NASA TLX).

These aspects also have a subjective component - how do users feel about a given interface. Does it get them bored fast? Is it repetitive and boring? Is it too complex? Does it require rote learning? Does it take too many steps? Does it clearly reflect the state of the system? Etc.

A good design takes both aspects into account.


I would not define ergonomics and UX as separate and distinct concepts. Depending on the audience some might say that ergonomics is a part of the user experience, or vice versa.

Ergonomics is concerned with evaluating and designing products to meet the physical and cognitive demands of a user.

User experience is also concerned with evaluating and designing products to meet the physical and cognitive demands of a user. But may also be used to describe the greater end to end experience or supporting processes. These might entail documentation, evaluating business needs, understanding technical demands, and evaluating how users perceive various channels.

One thing that is significantly distinct, is that physical ergonomics have standards enforced by OSHA to ensure the physical safety of users in work environments. Other than AA, and AAA WCAG accessibility standards - there are no legally defined standards or means to enforce standards for issues relating to human computer interaction.

  • While this is interesting (and I agree with that distinction), I'm not sure this is an answer to the question: I'm looking for mobile app / websites components to illustrate the distinctions you pointed out. Jan 5, 2018 at 18:58

This article could partially help you. The comments mention problems in ergonomics regarding how drivers interact with controls in dashboards.


For our purpose, Ergonomics could be summarized as dealing specifically with physical aspects of user performing the task (body position, posture, reach, etc). While UX could be simplified as the design of digital interfaces. Of course, UX encompasses much, much more than just “digital interfaces”. But let’s just use that definition for our purposes.

In the Tesla example, and in our simplified definition, UX is the interface within the screen: How it uses representations of the car (such as the seats) to help the user control some features. Button, font size, placement, user expectations, etc are all UX.

Ergonomics would be how far the farthest button is for the user to reach. Overall positioning of the driver, etc. Ergonomics in car design is an very old disciple.

It’s hard to make the distinction because UX and ergonomics are intertwined and deal with the same issues.

For example, when smartphones got larger, people had problems with reaching the far top right corner of the screen. Was it an ergonomic or UX issue? Or both? Solutions can be physical (tweaking screen size) or digital (Apple’s double tap to retract the UI displayed).

If you need more examples, explore use cases that involve physical dashboards. For example, airplane dashboard, nuclear power plant control rooms or lunar module boards.


To build on the Uber example given in the article, here is how I would differentiate ergonomics/HCI and UX:

  • all visual elements described are ergonomics, even the locations of Uber drivers nearby: they are a more efficient way of displaying information to the user than a simple list (a list might give you the distance from you, but the closest driver by distance might not be the closest in time, depending on road circumstances).
  • the user experience of an Uber customer is influenced by the app, but it's also the time they are going to wait, their knowledge of the road traffic, the interactions with the driver, the satisfaction of getting to their destination on time, etc.

The app is of course an essential component of the experience, and possibly the only one you can control as a designer, but when you think about the user experience, you need to think beyond the app, to all the dimensions of people's life. I think that's what Norman and Nielsen call in their definition the "total user experience".


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