What Is Prospective Ergonomics? A Reflection and a Position on the Future of Ergonomics

  • Jean-Marc Robert
  • Eric Brangier
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5624)


This paper presents a reflection on the future of ergonomics and a clear position for the use of prospective in this discipline. We propose to structure ergonomic activities around corrective, preventive (design) and prospective ergonomics, where the latter looks forward in time to defining human needs and activities so as to create human-centered artifacts that are useful and provide a positive user experience. The place of prospective ergonomics is upstream of projects, before a problem or request is raised by a client, and before projects exist. We describe several characteristics of prospective ergonomics and compare them with those of corrective and preventive ergonomics. We show that prospective ergonomics has major impacts on education and practice, since ergonomists should not only be trained as human factor experts but also as strategists to reflect on the future and as project managers. Prospective ergonomics requires the “intelligence analysis” of a lot of data and experts’ opinions, as well as perspicacity, intuition, creativity, motivation and initiative. It represents a huge potential for the advancement and evolution of ergonomics and for the achievement of its full maturity.


Corrective ergonomics Preventive ergonomics Prospective ergonomics Design Human-centered projects 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Marc Robert
    • 1
  • Eric Brangier
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. of Math & Industrial EngineeringEcole Polytechnique de MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Laboratoire Lorrain de Psychologie. Faculté des Sciences Humaines et Arts. BP 30309. Île du SaulcyUniversité Paul Verlaine – Metz. 2LPMetzFrance

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