Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Florida, 303 Weil Hall / P.O. Box 116595, Gainesville, FL, 32611, United States. Electronic address: [Email]
The use of riding lawn equipment (RLE) is related to a significant number of accidents every year. To provide basis for product design and enhance user performance and safety, a usability and performance assessment of modern riding lawn-mowing tractor designs and features was conducted in a real-world test environment. Five current commercially available RLEs were tested with response measures including task performance time and accuracy, physiological workload, system usability scores (SUS), and subjective rankings of RLE models. This data was used to identify sensitivity of responses to variations in RLE design features and functionality. The data was also used to assess the validity of new tractor design standard conformance tool, the RLEval methodology. This tool made comprehensive evaluation of RLE models compliance with over 70 specific design standards and was applied by human factors experts. Experiment results revealed sensitivity of all response measures to design differences among the five RLE models, except the objective workload measures. Response measures including task performance, SUSs and subjective rankings showed partial agreement with the RLEval scores. In general, the study results demonstrated a comprehensive experimental methodology for usability and performance evaluations of RLEs as well as merit of using the RLEval as preliminary method to compare design features. Some aspects of the usability experimentation and the RLEval method appear to be complementary.