Klaus Hofer

A UX Responsibility: Applied Psychology for Industrial Safety

Key Learnings

  • Explain the role of emotional intelligence in a procedure situation.
  • Describe behaviour reinforcement techniques in an operating procedure.
  • Demonstrate applied comprehension control in a document.
  • Apply Reading Grade Levels (RGLs) to meet usability criteria.
  • Describe cognitive echo and cognitive links.


Performance errors can lead to accidents. Such errors are triggered by perception and response behaviours. Behavioural research has shed a light on the root cause of many accidents. Today we know: Applied psychology improves industrial safety. Industrial safety is the new challenge to the UX community.

The Geneva based  ILO estimates that more than one million people lose their lives at work annually. OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Association) in 2018 reported 5250 fatalities in the highly regulated Oil and Gas Industry alone. Since 2014 we have not shown significant improvement. A problem with endemic proportions. UX specialists have studied human perception and response patterns for years, but with a prime focus on increasing sales and customer satisfaction. Marketing success is easily measured, but increased safety is not. Today UX engineered control rooms, cockpit layouts or UX compliant control panels for anesthetic machines have helped save lives.

We strongly recommend: High risk procedures should only be prepared by qualified UX procedure engineers. Technical writers or UX designers must be trained in behavioural techniques.
NOTE: No matter how much experience you have or what expert opinions may suggest, never lose focus on the fact that: The laws of nature will operate regardless!

Date: Monday, October 19th


Klaus Hofer

Founder and CEO, CAT-i

A corporate psychologist by training, Klaus’s passion for Usability Mapping was triggered by a serious incident that endangered the life of an unsuspecting hospital patient. In search of the cause, he found only opinions, judgmental answers and countless rules. This led him to the question: “How can well trained, focused and dedicated professionals make mistakes that could kill someone?”

The question in turn led him to a lifetime of research, development and now promoting the scientific principles that underpin the development of safer, more usable documentation. He founded CAT-i in 2003 and has personally trained over 4,000 professionals in 38 organizations world-wide.

Born in Austria, Klaus is Canadian Citizen, lives in Canada and spends his spare time on his second passion – music.

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