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Question: psychologist needed in industry?

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Hello EEV Blog,

What is your Opinion about psychologist in the Industry?

Well, there are some, which are concerned with user interface desgin.
At my University you can study something like engineering psychology. The people at this professorship deals with the useabillity of assembly line machines, better understandebal user manuals, and how knowleadge should be structured so that engineers with different background could understand each other.
I'm sure that i didn't mention most of their fields.

Do you have any experience how psychologists work outside the university in the Industie (not in the Brain  business  :scared:)? Maybe together with engineers to create a userfriendly product?
Did you know any Consulting Companies which deal with the same topics? Or maybe some psychologists which work in thies fields?

I'm looking forward to reading your comments.

Welcome to the forums  :)

I've only seen formal User Interface design in aerospace and military. There, if you mistake a reading something, it could cost $10's millions and there are lives at stake.
For the UI (military) standards, they use human physiology and psychology to come up with the layout, colours, fonts rules etc.

We did study UI design in computer engineering, but the focus is on basic principles that academics have written about in books. Such as doing the design in monochrome first, then adding colour; avoidance of "modes" which confuse people; avoidance of "icons" because there are no standards for icons and they can all look different but mean the same thing.

Ergonomics experts are actually quite common in the industry (nobody wants to be sued by workers with work-related injuries due to poorly designed hardware) and they often dabble in usability too. However, that is not directly linked to psychology.

Usability experts are less common (alas!) but you will find them, the same as people specializing in human factors (mostly related to safety and accident prevention).

Pure psychologist is a rare sight apart from doofuses in HR who think their personality tests are the magic bullet how to hire the right people.

Electro Fan:
"Human factors" along with ergonomics is a search term that might lead to more info on the subject.

Certainly, there is a role for people who understand both humans and machines as the two are increasingly interfaced to one another.  Much of it gets reduced to software (GUIs, etc.) but products and systems are often a combination of software and hardware, so someone who understands software, hardware, and humans (individually and maybe collectively with respect to workflows) is probably in a good position to add value to various endeavors.

As to whether this would be a good career path, my guess is there are probably not a huge number of positions that have industry psychologist, human factors engineer, or ergonomics engineer in the title but like anything else if someone is among the best at what they do there will be opportunities.  People who are talented enough to earn these opportunities are probably in a position to influence either large volumes of interfaces or smaller volumes of very important/high value interfaces - otherwise there wouldn't be a ROI for employing such a person. 

So, it's an important and cool job for someone who is good enough to earn the position.  For many/most? products the "product manager" will likely be someone who is multi-disciplinary with a combination of engineering and business skills and who has some sense of the importance of human interfaces but unless the project/program is of some critical mass it's unlikely to see a lot of dedicated human factors experts engaged.

It could be argued that Steve Jobs had outstanding user interface skill and that drove him to success but along the way he acquired a bunch of other powerful skills to go with UI expertise.  Point is that UI by itself might be a bit of a niche but it has the potential to be pretty adjacent to a lot of analysis and creativity that could unlock a lot of latent value.

Electro Fan:
search term and results
human factors engineering 671,000,000
user interface engineering 424,000,000
user interface engineer 134,000,000
human factors consulting services 111,000,000
user interface consulting services 66,300,000
ergonomics engineering 30,700,000
ergonomic engineering 22,900,000
ergonomics consulting services 3,750,000

fwiw, in the process I saw an article that said ergonomics includes three domains:  physical, cognitive, and organizational


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