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university of tampere: sis/luo-coms: research: trim - tampere research center for information and media: research groups: rime: projects:
Faculties of Natural and Communication SciencesUniversity of TampereFaculties of Natural and Communication Sciences

Workshop  in i-KNOW 2014 conference on 17th of September 2014 in Graz Austria



Information ergonomics - leveraging productivity by aligning human-information ecologies


Keywords: information ergonomics, cognitive ergonomics, HCI, CSCW, productivity, ubiquitous computing

Contemporary knowledge work environment is creating new kinds of challenges for employees. Experiences of hurry, information overload, fragmentation, loss of control, always-on expectations, attention deficit and burnout are common. One hypothesis for this rise is that hectic rhythms of work, an abundance of information processing needs, the ubiquity of information technology appliances used for work as well as private purposes, and ill-structured working patterns are creating new pressures on human performance. Today’s knowledge worker is typically deeply immersed into the digitally rich, ubiquitous work space during most of the wake hours.  Information technology has enhanced knowledge work processes, especially communication related to the work processes, in several ways. But why does this environment cause negative symptoms and disturbances of worker well-being? Or does it cause?  If, what could be done to diminish the harmful effects? What is the relation between characteristics of the ubiquitous, immersive, digital work environments and work wellbeing and productivity?

   Ergonomics is applied multidisciplinary science devoted to the enhancement of fit between human characteristics and tools and environments of the work. It is defined as “(...) scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.” (The International Ergonomics Association, 2010). Further, the design target of ergonomics can be either the tools used in the work, the overall work environment characteristics, or the working methods applied in the work. In the case of physical work, the analysis of the details of the work environments and work methods try to detect and control features of the work which create strain, excessive load and risks. For today’s knowledge workers, the focus should not only be on the ergonomic understanding and design of knowledge work, but also on the digital conditions and techniques of knowledge work, especially on the analysis of actual information intensive, digitally embedded work spaces, computing conventions and load exposures created. This new approach to observe, design and enhance digitally rich, ubiquitous, real world work environments and work methods is called information ergonomics. While usability, user experience and HCI research seek to enhance the information technological tools and services to fit better for humans, information ergonomics directs the analytical scrutiny into complete, digitally diverse work environments and actual computing behavior,  thereby connecting technological aspects with social ones. Technological aspects to information ergonomics are related for example to hybrid or augmented cognition, machine learning and adaptive technology.

   The objective of the interactive workshop is to invite researchers with different backgrounds, e.g. computer science, cognitive science, information science, and social science,  to build  an emerging research agenda for information ergonomics in knowledge, and to share research results and cultivate insights related to it.


The results and insights can cover topics like (but are not limited to):

  • ecologies of digital work environments in the wild

  • computing behavior in knowledge work

  • technological advances on researching information ergonomics

  • habits in computing

  • technology to enhance information ergonomics

  • technologies and/or rules that drive information ergonomics

  • social conventions of information ergonomics

  • digital literacies at work

  • multitasking, interruptions, fragmentation

  • personal informatics, personal knowledge management, personal information management

  • time management, attention management, availability management at knowledge work

  • self-tracing, self-tracking, self analytics, Quantified Self in knowledge work

  • characterizing variables of ubiquitous work environments

  • extended, augmented and distributed cognition at work

  • HCI perspectives of information ergonomics

  • exposures of digital, immersive environments

  • observing, conceptualising and measuring computing behavior in the wild

  • productivity research in knowledge work context

Workshop is a half-day event with two interactive paper sessions and workshops on the topic. The event serves a dual purpose. On the one hand, it is the first serious attempt towards building an international community of information ergonomists and therefore crucial for further national and international proposals on the issue. And secondly, it gathers researchers and practitioners around the theme together to share, discuss and elaborate latest research on information ergonomics.

Workshop progremme on the 17th of September, check location on the venue

9:00 - 10:30

Brief introduction by the chairs

1) FlowIT – Productive procurement of information systems: Ergonomics, work flow and cost management

 2) Information Ergonomics Guidelines for Multi-User Readability on Semi-Public Large Interactive Screens

3) A predictive analytics approach to derive standard times for productivity management of case-based knowledge work: a proof-of-concept study in claims examination of intellectual property rights

4) Information Ergonomics in Human Resources: Potential applications and benefits

5) Monitoring Personal Computing Practices in Real World Knowledge Work Settings

Get Coffee to be Well Equipped for Discussion

10:45  Discussion

Collected Discussion Items

What is Information Ergonomics, which disciplines are relevant?

Do we need Information Ergonomics? (on top of related issues in disciplines such as HCI, Organisational Psychology, …)

Outcome: A Position Statement / Paper about Information Ergonomics


1. FlowIT – Productive procurement of information systems: Ergonomics, work flow and cost management   

Teppo Valtonen, Jarno Turunen and Virpi Kalakoski (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finnalnd)

This extended abstract describes work in progress in a research project called FlowIT. The purpose of the project is to increase productivity in knowledge work by improving information systems and services, as well as their procurement process. Our main goal is to define a process model where cooperation between the supplier and the customer is emphasized, and which sets a focus on the users. The model introduces usability, cognitive ergonomics, and organizational ergonomics issues, as well as work flow support to the procurement decision in the target system or service. As an essential part of the model, we are developing a tool for analyzing, evaluating, and predicting the total cost of ownership of and the return on investment on information systems and services. The model examines expenses related to system design, system introduction, and work flow in a novel manner, taking into account the whole lifespan of the product.

2.  Information Ergonomics Guidelines for Multi-User Readability on Semi-Public Large Interactive Screens      

Florian Ott, Andrea Nutsi and Peter Lachenmaier (Cooperation Systems Center Munich, Bundeswehr University Munich, Germany)

Contemporary knowledge work environments are increasingly based on ubiquitous information access beyond classic single user desktop workplaces. Especially in enterprise contexts personal mobile devices and stationary interactive large screens gain more and more importance for information discovery. In contrast to former PC-based user interfaces these new digitally embedded ubiquitous work spaces demand new visualizations and socio-technically integrated interaction paradigms to allow simultaneous co-located multi-user interaction. Based on the findings during different field studies within the last five years our focus in this paper lies on multi-user walk-up-and-use information discovery scenarios in semi-public corporate spaces like coffee corners or beside the elevator. For these settings we present a work-in-progress concept for information ergonomic guidelines that can facilitate the deployment of large interactive screens as additional ubiquitous user interfaces for information discovery.

3. A predictive analytics approach to derive standard times for productivity management of case-based knowledge work: a proof-of-concept study in claims examination of intellectual property rights

Marc Richter (Darmstadt UT, Netherlands)       

4. Information Ergonomics in Human Resources: Potential applications and benefits

Viktoria Pammer, Sandra Feyertag and Gudrun Wesiak (Graz University of Technology, Knowledge Technologies Institute, Know-Center GmbH)

In this paper we explore the relevance of the concept of “Information Ergonomics” (IE) from a Human Resource Management (HRM) viewpoint in a large, international organization. This paper is based on a discursive process that we are carrying out with said organization, and our findings therefore stem from qualitative data. We structure our discussion around the concepts of knowledge worker productivity and health. Note that while the latter may be of high relevance to the individual worker as well as to society, it is not a priori understood that every organization, and with it the department responsible for workplace health, lives the realization that healthy knowledge workers are a valuable resource for an organization.


Heljä Franssila and Jussi Okkonen (SIS, University of Tampere)

In this position paper the needs and options for the realistic, real time and privacy preserving means for unobtrusively observing, monitoring and understanding knowledge work practices in real work settings in order to understand better the relations between computing practices, knowledge work methods and mental work wellbeing and performance outputs of personal knowledge work is discussed. A preliminary approach taken in a research project (work-in-progress) which aims to study these relationships is presented.


Workshop Format: All proposals are peer-reviewed by 2-3 committee members in the spirit of starting a scientific discourse by giving constructive feedback on your workshop submission. Submissions will not be automatically published, but we aim to organise a joint position paper on Information Ergonomics based on the discussion at the workshop at the i-Know. Contributions will be listed at this workshop website.

At the Workshop itself, we will put an emphasis on discussing single contributions as well as the exploring the field of Information Ergonomics.


Paper submission: April 16

Peer Reviews: June 30

List of Contributions online: Mid July

Workshop: Sept 17th


Please send you submissions to workshop by easychair


Names and contact information of the workshop chairs



Dr. Jussi Okkonen

Tauchi/School of Information sciences

FIN-33014 University of Tampere




           Dr. Gudrun Wesiak, Know-Center, Graz, Austria

           Dr. Viktoria Pammer, Graz University of Technology, Austria

Kanslerinrinne 1, 33014 University of Tampere
tel. (03) 355 111 (university switchboard)
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Last update: 6.5.2015 8.51 Muokkaa

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