A new online research forum dedicated to making popular consumer products more user friendly has been launched by a German university.

The new global scientific "Usability and Ergonomics" community invites specialists in the field to use the resource to network, share and discuss ideas and call for scientific papers. The aim is to make technical devices such as cars, mobiles and electronic goods more usable.

A new leading light in the project is professor doctor Birgit Spanner-Ulmer of Chemnitz University of Technology (Germany). Spanner-Ulmer is a leading expert in car and product design and previously worked for Audi.

Her newly created Usability Lab has 38 staff and moved to new custom-built research premises this week. In tandem with that move, the Usability Lab launched the online community.

University of Birmingham academic professor doctor Markus Vinzent has become a director of academici.

He observed: "When industry advertises devices as user friendly they tend to be as friendly to use as my easy ironing shirts are "easy to iron" – or not at all". Academici is delighted to welcome the usability icon Spanner-Ulmer and the "Usability and Ergonomics" specialist community on academici.