The main difference between anthropometrics and ergonomics is that anthropometrics is the study of the human body and its movement, especially in terms of its measurements, but ergonomics is the scientific discipline that involves designing products and environments to match the individuals who use them.
Anthropometrics and ergonomics are two highly related fields. Anthropometrics involve research that includes measurements of the human body while ergonomics involves using anthropometric data when designing products to improve user experience
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Anthropometrics
– Definition, Features, Examples
2. What is Ergonomics
– Definition, Features, Examples
3. What is the Difference Between Anthropometrics and Ergonomics
– Comparison of Key Differences
Anthropometrics, Ergonomics, Product Design
What is Anthropometrics
Anthropometrics refers to the study of the human body, especially in terms of its measurements. It involves the systematic measurement of the physical aspects of the human body, mainly measurements of body shape and size. It helps to understand the average measurements of the human form, usually in tabular form. We call these measurements anthropometric data.
Anthropometric data helps designers to design their product. For example, when designing a hairdryer, measurements like the average height of users and length of average arms become useful to decide the shape of handle and distance to be held from the head. When taking measurements form a target population for a specific product design, designers generally derive an average value (midpoint) as the final measurement. Anthropometrics plays an important role in various fields such as furniture design, clothing design, architecture, and ergonomics.
What is Ergonomics
Ergonomics is the scientific discipline of designing products and environments to match the people who use them. It incorporates anthropometric data when designing products to improve user experience. For example, when you manufacture a door handle, you use the measurements of the hand to design the shape and size of the handle. The same theory applies to design various products such as furniture, vehicles, clothes, etc. If designers don’t use anthropometric data in designing products, it may lead to users’ discomfort, pain or even injury. Moreover, size, shape, weight, the position of controls, etc. are measurements that contribute to ergonomic designing.
In addition to anthropometric data, ergonomics also uses data from several disciplines such as biomechanics (muscles, forces, strength, levers) and environmental physics (noise, heat, cold, light, radiation, etc.)
The above image shows how ergonomics use anthropometric data to optimize human interaction with equipment and workplaces. For example, the adjustable seat height enables the user to set the chair at a comfortable height, and height and angle of the monitor make it easy for the user to see the screen comfortably, minimizing strain on the eyes and neck while table height enables the user to reach the keyboard and mouse easily.
Moreover, ergonomics involves designing products, workspace, leisure activities, or even health and safety. For example, according to research, lower back pain is one of the most common work-related disability in the world; it affects employees in offices, building sites as well as agricultural workers. However, ergonomics can help to create a safe and comfortable workplace by using measurements and data obtained from various fields.
Difference Between Anthropometrics and Ergonomics
Anthropometrics is the study of the human body and its movement, especially in terms of its measurements, but ergonomics is the scientific discipline that involves designing products and environments to match the individuals who use them.
While anthropometrics involves the systematic measurement of the physical properties of the human body (height, weight, shape, arm length, etc.), ergonomic involves incorporating anthropometric data in designing products and environments.
For instance, anthropometrics may involve measuring the circumference of heads of a target population and obtaining an average value whereas ergonomics may use this average head circumference value to design safety helmets.
Anthropometrics involve research that includes measurements of the human body while ergonomics involves using anthropometric data when designing products to improve user experience. The main difference between anthropometrics and ergonomics is their focus and use.
1. “Mätningar för Bertillons antropometriska signalemang, Nordisk familjebok” By Nordisk familjebok – (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Computer Workstation Variables cleanup” By Yamavu – Own work (CC0) via Commons Wikimedia