Ergonomic factors considered in information systems implemented in Kenya: The Case of firms in Nairobi
The focus of this study was to determine the relative importance attached to ergonomic factors by IT consultants, their actual consideration of ergonomics factors, and constraints to the actual consideration of the same factors in the information systems that they implement in Kenya. The need for this study arises from the fact that whereas ergonomics need to be considered in information systems implemented, the state of ergonomics considered in Kenya is not known. Thus, this study was timely and would provide a foundation for further research on computer ergonomics, III information systems implemented by IT consultants in Kenya. With the increased number of activities that demand the use of computers, there is an expected increase in computer usage and work related human health. problems unless ergonomic factors are considered. In respect of this, the study addressed the following questions: 1) What level of importance do IT consultants attach to computer ergonomic (actors? 2) What ergonomic factors do IT consultants actually consider during implementation? 3) What are the factors that inhibit the implementation of ergonomic factors? IT consultants were chosen as the respondents in this study because they playa key role in implementing computer-based information systems, hence in sensitizing the end-users about the need for computer ergonomics consideration in their information systems. They are also expected to integrate ergonomics into the information systems they implement. Data for this study were collected from a population of 77 IT firms in Nairobi, Kenya, using self-administered questionnaires. Of the 77 questionnaires given out, 41 were successfully filled and collected. The data obtained pertained to the level of importance attached to ergonomic factors by IT consultants, the ergonomic factors actually considered during information systems implementation and the constraints that hindered the implementation of the ergonomic factors. These data were subjected to analysis through descriptive statistics with the aid of a statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). The results overall revealed that most of the IT consultants considered ergonomic factors as extremely important, and this importance varied from one ergonomic factor to another. For example 36.6% of the IT consultants considered anthropometries as extremely important compared to 4.9 % of the same consultants who considered them as not important at all. Also, 70% of the IT consultants considered climate as extremely important compared to 4.9% who considered it-as not important at all. The results also revealed that most of the IT consultants actually considered ergonomic factors in the information systems they implemented. This again varied from factor to factor. For example 95.1% of the respondents actually considered lighting in their installations compared to only 4.9% who did not, while 92.7% actually considered climate compared to 7.3% who did not. Constraints that hindered the actual consideration of computer ergonomic factors were also provided for in the questionnaire. The constraint, " the development, resource and implementation costs" was encountered as the most common constraint, with change training posting the highest responses of 56.1% of the total responses, while software design posted 7.3%, the least responses for the same constraint. The second highest constraint was "'play down' on the impact of the ergonomic factors", which had shift work and work surface recording 37.1% each. Support systems had the least posting of 7.3 for this factor. The least considered constraint was the "presence of inflexible information systems", which had an thropometrics as the highest recorded ergonomic factor (22%) that was inhibited by this constraint and most of the ergonormc factors recording a response of 2.4% for the same constraint. These were, biomechanics, change training, climate, furniture design, management systems physical and work surface. Though conclusions reached were general and tentative, overall, they appeared to suggest that most of IT consultants in Nairobi, Kenya find ergonomics extremely important and actually consider in the information systems they implement albeit the constraints.