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Home>Discover VersaTables> Ergonomics > Articles > The Human-Machine Interface

The Human-Machine Interface

The field of ergonomics and human factors is diverse and multidisciplinary. One area of focus that deserves particular attention before implementing any kind of ergonomics program in your institution or home is to gain an understanding of the Human-Machine Interface.

Information Flow in the Human-Machine Interface

The human-machine interface refers to the interaction, often called the dialogue, between a worker and the products that they work with. This interaction flows in two different directions:

  • Machine –> Human
  • Human –> Machine

When information and interactions flow effectively in either of these manners, a higher sense of efficiency and productivity can be achieved. These interactions can include stimuli and information that is communicated by touch, sight, sound, heat transference or any other physical or cognitive function.

How to Identify The Human-Machine Interface

It is important to identify all the different ways that you interface with products while working in order to better facilitate your comfort and efficiency, as well as processes like Task Analysis and Rule of Three.

To identify the areas that you commonly connect with a machine during your workflow, simply perform your typical tasks while paying heightened attention to each time you naturally interact with a piece of office furniture or equipment.

For example, a typical computer work station will have four human-machine interfaces:

  • The Keyboard –> The Hand
  • The Mouse –> The Hand
  • The Monitor –> The Eyes
  • The Speakers –> The Ears

Designing an Ergonomic Human-Machine Interface

While the analysis and design of an ergonomic human-machine interface can quickly become quite complex, a general understanding of this principle can serve workers and users at home, in the education sector, the medical field and the private business sector quite well.

An ergonomic human-machine interface design essentially has two goals: finding ways to make the machine interactions and workplace more 1) comfortable, and 2) efficient.


A primary area of concern for effective human-machine interfacing is comfort. The more comfortable a human-machine interaction is, the more it will be utilized and made productive. Additionally, increased comfort measures relieve stress and minimize the likelihood of suffering a work-related injury.


In addition to being comfortable, the human-machine interface must also be efficient. Efficiency involves reducing the amount of strength needed to operate or interact with any given machine, reducing the number of steps in a task, reducing the number of moving parts in a machine and making a machine more user-friendly.

One of the key variables that impact the human-machine interfacings present in most computing workstations is simply the layout and organization of a workspace. VersaTables Workspace Planner Tool can help users identify their individual comfort and efficiency needs when interfacing with a typical computing station.

Adjustability and Interfacing

One of the greatest strategies that enable effective human-machine interfacing between a user and any kind of computing work is to utilize adjustable products. Because, according to experts, one of the basic principles of human-interface design is to make sure that the smallest person in a working area can reach and see the working area without being forced into an undesirable posture, while the largest person can fit into the working space with adequate clearance, adjustable office and computing furniture is a wise choice for organizations. Consider the following examples:

  • The use of adjustable task chairs, such as VersaTables’ Resolve Basic Task Chair, in business, educational or medical settings ensures that users can easily achieve their optimal human-machine interfacing by simply adjusting the height of the chair.
  • The use of a computer cart, particularly in medical settings, provides for adjustable keyboard and monitor height for all users. VersaTable’s Deluxe Fusion Computer Cart is extremely popular for this purpose.
  • Sit to Stand computing stations also allow for the greatest range in user adjustability, allowing each individual to tailor their own working routine with their machine interfacing. VersaTables offers superior sit and stand computer furniture in which each desk component adjusts to provide maximum comfort and ergonomic support for multiple users.

Additional adjustable products can be found by visiting our online catalogue.

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