Martin Bontoft is an ergonomist, user researcher and design strategist. His key contribution is in understanding human needs, and communicating them to design teams in a way that informs and inspires.

“I’ve never thought of human factors as simply an evaluative discipline. If you have the deep, personal and empathic understanding of people that you get from doing summative usability evaluations, then of course you can exploit that in formative work – you can suggest design improvements and contribute really strongly to the creative process. Actually, you can do more than that: with a sensitive understanding of human need, you can project into the future and suggest new devices, new services, new ways of satisfying those needs.

“This sort of user-centred innovation is tremendously powerful for organisations. It doesn’t assume new and expensive technologies, but just aims to help designers and engineers give people what they want, and get them happier sooner.”

In a varied career, Martin has worked with some of the world’s largest organisations, winning several major design awards. In the recent past, he has worked with clinicians and commissioners in the UK National Health Service, helping to create and shape services for people. Before that he was head of research at IDEO in London. He has a degree in Ergonomics and over 20 years’ experience working in the creative industries. He has judged the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (IEHF) Ergonomics Design Awards for the last three years.