The principal objective of the project is to provide ergonomic guidelines for the design and develop ment of user-friendly agricultural videotex systems which will promote the adoption of telematic services among non-professional (farmer and extension worker) end-users by overcoming the difficulties inherent in the man-computer dialogue.
The object of the project was to provide ergonomic guidelines for the design and development of user friendly agricultural videotex systems which will promote the adoption of telematic services by farmers and their advisers. A common ergonomic methodology was developed in order to analyse end user behaviour under different technical and cultural environments. A basic questionnaire was developed for the survey of videotex users and a subset was selected for the conduct of ergonomic case studies. The survey and case studies have been carried out and analyses made. Sufficient knowledge of farmers' behaviour has been obtained to draft a manual for designers of videotex systems for farmers. The guideli for the design of agricultural videotex systems (authors:M Harkin and K Landau) are available from IfAO publishers, D-72574 Bad Urach, Teckstrasse 1 Germany.
The removal of obstacles to the uptake of telematic systems in Member States will increase the efficiency of the dissemination of information and improve the competitiveness and efficiency of end-users in the farming, extension and agribusiness sectors. Ergonomically enhanced information systems will promote the emergence of economically viable videotex services in the European farming community; the technical benefits are an inherent component of this development. Social benefits associated with the adoption of the technology will "democratise" access to information and reduce the disparity between the remote and geographically more favoured farming areas.
The main areas of work and methodology involve undertaking an information ergonomic analysis of real agricultural videotex usage, taking into account the educational, cultural and intellectual backgrounds involved. The resulting output will provide an ergonomic checklist and guidelines for designers and providers of agricultural videotex systems. An easy-to-use technical manual will be produced for designers and a demonstration model will be implemented by applying the information ergonomic guidelines to an operating videotex system.
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MK43 9JG Wootton