User-centred design to promote the effective use of rear-mounted foldable roll-over protective structures (FROPSs): prototype evaluation among novice and expert farmers

  • Lucia Vigoroso Institute of Sciences and Technologies for Sustainable Energy and Mobility (STEMS) (up to October 01, 2020: Institute for Agricultural and Earthmoving Machines (IMAMOTER)), National Research Council of Italy (CNR), Strada delle Cacce 73. 10135 Torino
  • Federica Caffaro Roma Tre University, Dept. of Education. Via del Castro Pretorio 20. 00185 Rome,
  • Eugenio Cavallo Institute of Sciences and Technologies for Sustainable Energy and Mobility (STEMS), National Research Council of Italy (CNR), Strada delle Cacce 73. 10135 Torino
  • Margherita Micheletti Cremasco University of Torino, Dept. of Life Sciences and Systems Biology. Via Accademia Albertina 13. 10123 Torino
Keywords: agriculture, ergonomics, human-machine interaction, safe behaviour, foldable ROPS, user-centred design (UCD)


Aim of study: We tested the perceived quality in use of a prototype of a handling supporting device, developed through a user-centred design process intended for rear-mounted foldable rollover protective-structures (FROPSs).

Area of study: The study was performed in the Province of Cuneo, which has the largest number of farms and the highest share of utilized agricultural area (UAA) in Piedmont Region, NW Italy.

Material and methods: Three groups of users, novice-novice (NN), novice-expert (NE) and expert-expert (EE) were asked to raise two rear-mounted FROPSs: a traditional one and a second one equipped with a supporting device which consisted of a gas spring and a rod. A questionnaire has been used to record the perceived quality in use of both FROPSs (effort, physical discomfort, temporal demand and ease of use) and perceived usefulness and attitudes toward the adoption of the supporting device.

Main results: All groups reported less physical effort, more stable postures, higher ease of use in handling the FROPS equipped with the supporting device; NN users, in particular, declared to be willing to adopt the supporting device in the future on their tractors when commercially available.

Research highlights: Previous studies reported discomfort in operating the FROPS as the main cause of its improper use. A solution to improve FROPS reachability was developed and tested with users. Benefits were perceived by both novice users and expert users.


Download data is not yet available.


Abubakar MSA, Ahmad D, Akande FB, 2010. A review of farm tractor overturning accidents and safety. Pertanika J Sci Technol 18: 377-385.

Arana I, Mangado J, Arnal P, Arazuri S, Alfaro JR, Jarén C, 2010. Evaluation of risk factors in fatal accidents in agriculture. Span J Agric Res 8: 592-598.

Ayers PD, Khorsandi FK, Poland MJ, Hilliard CT, 2019. Foldable rollover protective structures: Universal lift-assist design. Biosyst Eng 185: 116-125.

Basso M, Libener M, Miotti F, Pasqualini O, Ruvolo M, 2010. Sistema di sorveglianza sugli infortuni mortali della Regione Piemonte. Rapporto Sulla Ricostruzione Degli Infortuni Mortali In Regione Piemonte, Anni 2009-2010.

Bevan N, Curson I, 1998. Planning and implementing user-centred design. CHI '98: CHI 98 Conf Summ on Human Factors in Comput Syst, pp: 111-112.

Brorström B, Siverbo S, 2004. Deeply rooted traditions and the will to change-problematic conflicts in three swedish health care organizations. J Econ Issues 38: 939-952.

Caffaro F, Bagagiolo G, Micheletti Cremasco M, 2017a. Participatory ergonomic design of a safety training tool for migrant workers in agriculture. Chem Eng Trans 58: 25-30.

Caffaro F, Bisaglia C, Cutini M, Micheletti Cremasco M, Cavallo E, 2017b. A method to evaluate the perceived ease of use of human-machine interface in agricultural tractors equipped with continuously variable transmission (CVT). Span J Agric Res 15: e0210.

Caffaro F, Micheletti Cremasco M, Roccato M, Cavallo E, 2017c. It does not occur by chance: a mediation model of the influence of workers' characteristics, work environment factors, and near misses on agricultural machinery-related accidents. Int J Occup Environ Health 23: 52-59.

Caffaro F, Lundqvist P, Micheletti Cremasco M, Nilsson K, Pinzke S, Cavallo E, 2018. Machinery-related perceived risks and safety attitudes in senior Swedish farmers. J Agromedicine 23: 78-91.

Cavallo E, Langle T, Bueno D, Tsukamoto S, Görücü S, Murphy D, 2014. Rollover protective structure (ROPS) retrofitting on agricultural tractors: goals and approaches in different countries. J Agromedicine 19: 208-209.

Cavallo E, Ferrari E, Coccia M, 2015. Likely technological trajectories in agricultural tractors by analysing innovative attitudes of farmers. Int J Technol Policy Manag 15: 158-177.

Cha HJ, Ahn ML, 2019. Design and development of a smart-tool prototype to promote differentiated instruction: a user-centered design approach. Interact Learn Environ 28 (6): 1-17.

Cutini M, Forte G, Maietta M, Mazzenga M, Mastrangelo S, Bisaglia C, 2017. Safety-critical manuals for agricultural tractor drivers: a method to improve their usability. Agriculture 7: 1-20.

Darçın ES, Darçın M, 2017. Fatal tractor injuries between 2005 and 2015 in Bilecik, Turkey. Biomed Res 28: 549-555.

De Schutter O, 2013. The agrarian transition and the 'feminization' of agriculture. In: Food sovereignty: A critical dialogue. Int Conf Yale Univ, pp: 51-56.

de Vries L, Hogström P, Costa N, Mallam S, 2017. Designing for safe operations: promoting a human-centred approach to complex vessel design. Ships Offshore Struct 12: 1016-1023.

Demirbas D, Timur Ogut S, 2020. Re-designing the design brief as a digital learning tool with participatory design approach. Turk Online J Dist Educ 1: 83-100.

EC, 2020. Statistical factsheet, June 2020. European Commission.

Fargnoli M, Lombardi M, 2020. Safety vision of agricultural tractors: An engineering perspective based on recent studies (2009-2019). Safety 6: 1-20.

Fargnoli M, Lombardi M, Haber N, Puri D, 2018. The impact of human error in the use of agricultural tractors: A case study research in vineyard cultivation in Italy. Agriculture 8 (6): 82.

Faulkner L, 2003. Beyond the five-user assumption: Benefits of increased sample sizes in usability testing. Behav Res Meth Instr Comput 35 (3): 379-383.

Franceschetti B, Rondelli V, Ciuffoli A, 2019. Comparing the influence of roll-over protective structure type on tractor lateral stability. Saf Sci 115: 42-50.

Giacomin J, 2014. What is human centred design? Des J 17: 606-623.

Grocott P, Weir H, Ram MB, 2007. A model of user engagement in medical device development. Int J Health Care Qual Assur 20: 484-493.

Guillaume M, Houben P, Stilmant D, Van Damme J, 2016. Co-designing a decision-support tool with farmers as the basis for a participatory approach. Proc 5th Belg Agroecol Meeting (BAM), Ghent (Belgium), Sept 20. pp: 29-30.

Guzzomi AL, Rondelli V, Capacci E, 2019. Operator protection in rollover events of articulated narrow track tractors. Biosyst Eng 185: 103-115.

Haapala H, 2019. User-centred design and multi-actor approach in agricultural innovations - Case: combi drill design. Agric Mach Technol 13: 15-19.

Hart SG, Staveland LE, 1988. Development of NASA-TLX (task load index): Results of empirical and theoretical research. Adv Psychol 52: 139-183.

Hoffmann V, Probst K, Christinck A, 2006. Farmers and researchers: How can collaborative advantages be created in participatory research and technology development? Agr Hum Val 24: 355-368.

Hoy RM, 2009. Farm tractor rollover protection: why simply getting rollover protective structures installed on all tractors is not sufficient. J Agric Saf Health 15: 3-4.

HSE, 2003. Using tractors safely: A step-bystep guide. Free Leafl. INDG185(rev3). Health and Safety Executive.

Ilmarinen J, 2006. Towards a longer worklife! Ageing and the quality of worklife in the European Union. Finn Inst of Occup Health, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Helsinki.

ISO, 2010. ISO 9241-210: 2010 Ergonomics of human-system interaction. Part 210: Human-centred design for interactive systems. Int Standard Organ, Geneva, Switzerland.

ISTAT, 2013. 6° Censimento Genera le dell' Agricoltura in Piemonte-Risultati definitivi [6th Agricultural Census in Piedmont-Final results]. Istituto Nazionale Statistica, Rome.

Kahraman ZEH, 2010. Using user-centered design approach in course design. Procedia - Soc Behav Sci 2: 2071-2076.

Khorsandi F, Ayers PD, 2018. The effect of friction on actuation torques of foldable rollover protective structures. J Agr Saf Health 24: 227-242.

König C, Hofmann T, Bruder R, 2012. Application of the user-centred design process according ISO 9241-210 in air traffic control. Work 41: 167-174.

Lindblom J, Lundström C, Ljung M, Jonsson A, 2017. Promoting sustainable intensification in precision agriculture: review of decision support systems development and strategies. Precis Agric 18: 309-331.

Martin S, Armstrong E, Thomson E, Vargiu E, Solà M, Dauwalder S, Miralles F, Daly Lynn J, 2018. A qualitative study adopting a user-centered approach to design and validate a brain computer interface for cognitive rehabilitation for people with brain injury. Assist Technol 30: 233-241.

Micheletti Cremasco M, Caffaro F, Giustetto A, Vigoroso L, Paletto G, Cavallo E, 2020. Tractor rollover protection: is the incorrect use of foldable rollover protective structures due to human or to technical issues? Hum Factors 62: 64-76.

Micheletti Cremasco M, Vigoroso L, Caffaro F, Paletto G, Cavallo E, 2021. Considering human variability in the design of safe interaction with agricultural machinery: The case of foldable roll-over protective structure (FROPS) manual handling. Agronomy 11: 1303.

Mohd Shukoor NS, Mohd Tamrin SB, Guan NY, Mohd Suadi Nata DH, 2018. Development of new hard hat dimensions using user-centered design approach among oil palm harvesters. Work 60: 129-134.

Mohd Yusoff IS, Mohd Tamrin SB, Mat Said AM, Ng YG, Ippei M, 2014. Oil palm workers: Designing ergonomics harvesting tool using user centered design approach to reducing awkward body posture by CATIA simulation. Iran J Public Health 43: 72-80.

Myers ML, Pana-Cryan R, 2000. Prevention effectiveness of rollover protective structures -Part I: Strategy evolution. J Agric Saf Health 6: 41-55.

Neef A, Neubert D, 2011. Stakeholder participation in agricultural research projects: A conceptual framework for reflection and decision-making. Agric Human Values 28: 179-194.

NIOSH, 2009. Preventing death and injury in tractor overturns with roll-over protective structures. Nat Inst for Occup Safe and Health.

Norman DA, 1988. The psychology of everyday things. Basic books.

OECD, 2020a. Code 4 - OECD standard codes for the official testing of agricultural and forestry tractors. Organ for Econ Co-op Dev, Paris.

OECD, 2020b. Code 6 - OECD standard code for the official testing of front mounted roll-over protective structures on narrow-track wheeled agricultural and forestry tractors, forestry. Organ for Econ Co-op Dev, Paris.

OECD, 2020c. Code 7 - OECD standard code for the official testing of rear mounted roll-over protective structure on narrow-track wheeled agricultural and forestry tractors. Organ for Econ Co-op Dev, Paris.

Oliver DM, Bartie PJ, Heathwaite AL, Pschetz L, Quilliam RS, 2017. Design of a decision support tool for visualising E. coli risk on agricultural land using a stakeholder-driven approach. Land Use Policy 66: 227-234.

Ortiz-Crespo B, Steinke J, Quirós CF, van de Gevel J, Daudi H, Gaspar Mgimiloko M, van Etten J, 2020. User-centred design of a digital advisory service: enhancing public agricultural extension for sustainable intensification in Tanzania. Int J Agric Sustain.

Österman C, Berlin C, Bligård LO, 2016. Involving users in a ship bridge re-design process using scenarios and mock-up models. Int J Ind Ergon 53: 236-244.

Pessina D, Facchinetti D, Giordano DM, 2016. Narrow-track agricultural tractors: A survey on the load of the hand-operated foldable rollbar. J Agric Saf Health 22: 275-284.

Popovic V, 2003. Expert and novice users models and their application to the design process. J As Des Int Conf. 12 pp.

Privitera MB, Southee D, Evans M, 2015. Collaborative design processes in medical device development. Proc 11th Eur Acad of Design Conf, Boulogne Billancourt (France), Apr 22-24. pp: 1-12.

Robert K, Elisabeth Q, Josef B, 2015. Analysis of occupational accidents with agricultural machinery in the period 2008-2010 in Austria. Saf Sci 72: 319-328.

Rose DC, Parker C, Fodey J, Park C, Sutherland WJ, Dicks LV, 2018. Involving stakeholders in agricultural decision support systems: Improving user-centred design. Int J Agric Manag 6: 80-89.

Rossi V, Salinari F, Poni S, Caffi T, Bettati T, 2014. Addressing the implementation problem in agricultural decision support systems: The example of®. Comput Electron Agric 100: 88-99.

Sauer J, Seibel K, Rüttinger B, 2010. The influence of user expertise and prototype fidelity in usability tests. Appl Ergon 41: 130-140.

Stahre J, 1995. Evaluating human/machine interaction problems in advanced manufacturing. Comput Integr Manuf Syst 8 (2): 143-150.

Thaler R, Sunstein C, 2008. Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness. Penguin Books.

Thelin A, 1998. Rollover Fatalities-Nordic Perspectives. J Agric Saf Health 4: 157-160.

van der Panne G, van Beers C, Kleinknecht A, 2003. Success and failure of innovation: a literature review. Int J Innov Manag 7 (3): 309-338.

Venturi G, Troost J, Jokela T, 2006. People, organizations, and processes: An inquiry into the adoption of user-centered design in industry. Int J Hum Comput Interact 21: 219-238.

Vigoroso L, Caffaro F, Cavallo E, 2020. Occupational safety and visual communication: User-centred design of safety training material for migrant farmworkers in Italy. Saf Sci 121: 562-572.

Vredenburgh AG, Zackowitz IB, 2009. Drug labeling and its impact on patient safety. Proc of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 52nd Annual Meeting, New York States, Sept 22-26. pp: 842-844.

Walisadeera AI, Wikramanayake GN, Ginige A, 2013. An ontological approach to meet information needs of farmers in Sri Lanka. In: Computational science and its applications - ICCSA 2013. Lecture notes in computer science; Murgante B et al. (eds). pp: 228-240.

Walisadeera AI, Ginige A, Wikramanayake GN, 2015. User centered ontology for Sri Lankan farmers. Ecol Inform 26: 140-150.

Walisadeera AI, Ginige A, Wikramanayake GN, 2016. Ontology evaluation approaches: A case study from agriculture domain. In: Computational Science and Its Applications - ICCSA 2016. Lecture notes in computer science; Gervasi O et al. (eds). pp. 318-333.

Wong ML, Khong CW, Thwaites H, 2012. Applied UX and UCD design process in interface design. Procedia - Soc Behav Sci 51: 703-708.

How to Cite
VigorosoL., CaffaroF., CavalloE., & Micheletti CremascoM. (2021). User-centred design to promote the effective use of rear-mounted foldable roll-over protective structures (FROPSs): prototype evaluation among novice and expert farmers. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 19(3), e0207.
Agricultural engineering