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HFES Bulletin

January 2010
Volume 53, Number 1

Society Honors

Submit Your Work for the User-Centered Product Design Award

By Dianne L. McMullin & Stanley H. Caplan, Award Chairs

     The Product Design Technical Group (PDTG) invites submissions for the 9th Annual User-Centered Product Design Award. This award recognizes outstanding product design and the methods used to specify and achieve the design. Emphasis is placed on innovative and user-centered approaches to human factors/ergonomics and industrial design.

     Submissions may address products, software, or systems that are purchased for use in the home, in the workplace, or while mobile. They may include consumer, commercial, and medical products but exclude military equipment or systems. The product or system being nominated must be operational and capable of being marketed with no more than minimal changes. Products already on the market for more than three years will not be considered.

     Submit nominations for your own work or that of others. The nominee must be a member of HFES but does not have to be a member of the PDTG. If a team is nominated, at least one person from the team must be an HFES member.

     Nominations should be submitted in electronic form. Complete submission requirements (and information about past winners) are available at the PDTG Web site. Submissions must include descriptions of how the product or process meets the following judging criteria:

  • Functional obviousness: On first impression, does the design speak to the user in a way that makes the product appealing and apparently easy to use?
  • Ease of operation: How easy is it to learn and perform tasks in various applicable usage modes (e.g., setup, normal use, failure recovery)?
  • Creativity/innovation: How is this product unique compared with similar products? How do usability and styling take advantage of product technology?
  • Concept development: How was new user input created or past user data applied to influence the product or system concept?
  • Design: How were user data generated or used for specifying design parameters or making design decisions?
  • Evaluation: What was done to assess the usability of the product design and the need for improvement? This could include iterative assessments made during the design process or feedback obtained in the market that could be used for subsequent versions of the product.


     The deadline for submitting nominations for the award is May 7. Nominations should be submitted via e-mail to Dianne L. McMullin at

     Judges will declare a winner by the latter part of July and may also identify submissions for honorable mention. If none of the submissions is judged to be of sufficiently high quality, no winner will be announced.

     The winning product or system will be recognized at the 2010 HFES Annual Meeting in San Francisco, and the awardees will be asked to make a presentation on the product and the development methodology.

     For more information or to volunteer to serve on the award selection committee, please contact Stanley H. Caplan at

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