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