John E. Karlin, Who Led the Way to All-Digit Dialing, Dies at 94

… Mr. Karlin, associated from 1945 until his retirement in 1977 with Bell Labs, headquartered in Murray Hill, N.J., was widely considered the father of human-factors engineering in American industry.

A branch of industrial psychology that combines experimentation, engineering and product design, human-factors engineering is concerned with easing the awkward, often ill-considered marriage between man and machine. In seeking to design and improve technology based on what its users are mentally capable of, the discipline is the cognitive counterpart of ergonomics.

“Human-factors studies are different from market research and other kinds of studies in that we observe people’s behavior and record it, systematically and without bias,” Mr. [Ed] Israelski said. [cont.]

Margalit Fox, New York Times