This is the official website for the PDTG of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

17th Annual Stanley Caplan User-Centered Product Design Award

Adam Shames and Stan Caplan 

Nominations Due:  April 27, 2018

The HFES Product Design Technical Group (PDTG) invites you to submit a nomination for the 17th annual Stanley Caplan User-Centered Product Design award.  No entry fee or other cost is required.  The award emphasizes both product design and the methods used to specify and achieve the design.

The winning product/system will be recognized at the 2018 HFES Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA on October 2nd and the awardees will be asked to present a talk on the product and methodology.  The awardees will also be expected to submit a paper to “Ergonomics in Design”, the Quarterly Journal of Human Factors Applications.


Consideration is given to products, software or systems that are meant for use in the home, in the workplace, or while mobile including consumer, commercial, and medical products.  The product or system being nominated must be operational at time of submission.  At a minimum, it must be scheduled for actual use within one year of its submission with no substantial changes.  At a maximum, the product or system may have been in actual use for up to three years.

Nominations will be accepted from individuals nominating others or nominating themselves.  Award candidates do NOT have to be a member of HFES or of PDTG.  All individuals and/or teams are invited to participate.

Submission Format

The nominations should be submitted in electronic form and should consist of a cover file, body file, and an optional video file: Submissions are expected to address each judging criteria in the body file.  Failure to follow the format may result in disqualification.  

Cover File (separate file; will not be shared with judges)
  1. Name of Product
  2. Name of person/persons being nominated and their title(s)
  3. Names of team members that worked on the product and their titles
  4. Name of contact person and their phone, mailing address, and email
  5. State of Development: If this product is currently on the market, how long?  If not, what remains to be done to put it into actual use?

Body file (file separate from cover sheet)
  1. Name of Product
  2. Product Description including pictures, story boards, etc. that clearly explains the product’s form and the operation.
  3. Targeted Users:  Describe the characteristics of the targeted users and how they were different than excluded users.
  4. External Considerations: What external constraints and/or requirements were imposed upon the development of the product or process?
  5. Judging Criteria: Following are the judging criteria.  Please write a separate description for each of the six criteria that explains how the product or process meets that criterion. The criteria are divided between issues of design and issues of methodology used to develop and evaluate the design.
  • 5.A. Functional Obviousness (Design)
    • Upon first impression does the design speak to the user in a way that makes the product appealing and apparently easy to use?
  • 5.B. Ease of Operation (Design)
    • How easy is it to learn and actually do tasks in various applicable usage modes such as set up, normal usage, failure recovery, maintainability, portability, storability that occur during ownership?
  • 5.C. Creativity/Innovation (Design)
    • How is this product unique compared to similar products?  How does usability and styling take advantage of product technology?
  • 5.D. Concept Development (Methodology)
    • How was new user input created or past user data applied to influence the product or system concept?
  • 5.E. Design (Methodology)
    • How was user data generated or used for specifying design parameters or making design decisions?
  • 5.F. Evaluation (Methodology)
    • What was done to assess usability of the product design and the need for improvement?  This could include iterative assessments made during the design process or feedback obtained in the market that could be used for subsequent versions of the product.  Be specific concerning testing methodology and what was learned.

Video File (optional)

  1. A narrated, informative video may be submitted to expand on the six judging criteria.  Marketing videos are discouraged and will not be considered in the judging.


Judges’ evaluations can only be based on the submission they receive so a high quality submission that clearly and concisely addresses each criterion will be an asset.  The submission should not be treated as a marketing tool.  Statements about a product’s quality should be substantiated by documenting results or clear rationale that explain the how and why.


The deadline for submitting nominations for the award is April 27, 2018.  Nomination file(s) should be uploaded to http://go.corehf.com/pdtgaward2018 and placed in a folder you make and label with the name of the product.

Judges will declare a winner in late July and may also identify submissions for honorable mention.  If none of the submissions are evaluated to be of sufficiently high quality, judges will have discretion to forego a winner.

At the October 2nd special award session the winners will receive an elegant trophy and a $1,000 honorarium.  An HFES press release will be issued.