Emerson unveils campaign to make process control technology user friendly

Emerson has announced its intention to make process control technology easier to use, and is backing up that pledge with the introduction of its Human Centered Design Institute. The institute is the result of more than five years of customer work-practice analysis, new product development re-engineering, and organizational training.
By Renee Robbins, Managing Editor September 1, 2009

Emerson has announced its intention to make process control technology easier to use, and is backing up that pledge with the introduction of its Human Centered Design Institute. The institute is the result of more than five years of customer work-practice analysis, new product development re-engineering, and organizational training. Its goal is to "bring about a significant improvement in ease-of-use and workforce productivity," according to Peter Zornio, chief strategic officer at Emerson.

Over the past 40 years, says Zornio, "industry has invested almost exclusively in feature and technology enhancement, instead of designing around how people actually use the technology. We believe it’s time technology began serving people, instead of the other way around."

Human centered design is a multi-disciplined science. Intensive observational research, usability testing and heuristics analysis are key elements of the practice. These provide the insight to blend the disciplines of industrial, graphical and human interface design into products that are easier to use.

"We’ve been incubating this HCD process since the early days of our Smart Wireless designs some years ago, collaborating with Carnegie Melon University, a recognized leader in human interface and interaction with technology," said Duane Toavs, director of Emerson’s Human Centered Design Institute.