Developing and validating a self-report assessment tool for software biomechanics Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: There are many effective methods for decreasing the likelihood of repetitive strain injury (RSI) for those who work at a computer in an office environment. This study is focused on the highly repetitive task of interpreting seismic data. The skilled geoscientists who perform this work are very well compensated, and their work is vital to the success of the oil company. However, RSIs are still occurring in situations where effective methods of mitigating injuries have been successfully implemented and this has been occurring very frequently for geoscientists. This suggests that there are other elements contributing to the development of these injuries and one element could be the software interaction design. However, it is difficult for software designers to determine this because most measures associated with muscle activity require expensive data collection methods. OBJECTIVE: This paper describes research conducted to determine if survey-based subjective measures might be used to assess the potential for RSI for software programs. METHODS: In laboratory and field settings, data were collected using three different survey instruments (NASA-Task Load Index, Latko's Busiest Hand Activity Level Scale, and the Borg CR10 Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale) and conventional measures of muscle activity (sEMG). Correlations between the surveys and muscle activity were then calculated. RESULTS: For both the laboratory and the field, people were able to provide reliable self-report information related to their muscle activity. However, the effect sizes were not large. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that self-report tools could be utilized to identify software interaction designs related associated with risks of RSI.

author list (cited authors)

  • Peres, S. C., Kortum, P. T., Akladios, M., & Muddimer, A.

citation count

  • 2

publication date

  • August 2015

published in