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The Structure of ISO 9241

Background

ISO 9241 began life in the early 1980s as a seventeen part standard entitled “Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals.”  It has been an influential standard across the world and is referenced in many countries' regulations, including the UK’s Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992.

ISO 9241 is currently being revised and updated.  Different parts are at different stages in the revision process.  The new title “The Ergonomics of Human-system Interaction” retains the ISO 9241 brand which has become a recognised benchmark and also broadens its scope.  The multi-part structure allows integration with other standards in the same area. 

The Structure of ISO 9241 

The structure reflects the numbering of the original ISO 9241 standard, for example displays were originally part 3 and are now the 300 series. In each section, the ‘hundred’ is an introduction to the section, for example, Part 100 gives an introduction to the software ergonomics parts.  The number of parts which will be developed in each section varies depending on the complexity of the area and the need for specific standards.

Only three part numbers will be retained (following revision) from the original ISO 9241 structure, as these address issues which apply across all other parts of ISO 9241:

  • Part 1  Introduction;
  • Part 2  Job design;
  • Part 11  Hardware and software usability.

An additional part which also applies across all of ISO 9241 is:

  • Part 20  Accessibility and human-system interaction.

The remaining parts are structured in ‘hundreds’ as follows:

  • 100 series Software ergonomics
  • 200 series Human system interaction processes
  • 300 series Displays and display related hardware
  • 400 series Physical input devices - ergonomics principles
  • 500 series Workplace ergonomics
  • 600 series Environment ergonomics
  • 700 series Application domains - Control rooms
  • 900 series Tactile and haptic interactions

The latest status of all parts is shown on the ISO website.

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