We all have something going on in our lives.
Have you ever sat in a public place and wondered where people were headed, what was going on in their lives, or what they were struggling with? Do they have a family and what is their job?
What is life like in their shoes?
I know my husband often fields lots of questions from adults and children alike who are curious about why he’s in a wheelchair. If you’re wondering why, read his bio here under “Meet Scott.” If you haven’t been reading our blog, you’ll find little insights into our life through our posts.
Living life well includes universal design.
To live life, we must be able to participate in each aspect at home, school, work, and in our leisure pursuits. We assume roles (mother, wife, father, sibling, cousin, etc…) and formulate routines. However, the reality of our society’s infrastructure (more specifically our transportation infrastructure) limits the places some people go and the things they do because most of it is designed for individuals that have certain levels of physical/cognitive abilities.
In short, universal design can improve your life if you’re struggling physically, mentally, emotionally, or are doing well in all those areas. The concepts of universal design assume that anyone with the ability to walk in shoes or not, can use the space without adaptation.
The company OXO based their product line on universal design. Here is their explanation on universal design and why they collect lost gloves they find in their community and beyond…
As a reminder of the different hands our products need to comfortably fit – large, small, male, female, young, old and in between, OXO employees collect lost gloves around New York City and around the world. These gloves are prominently displayed at our office…
…For OXO, the principles of Universal Design mean a salad spinner that can be used with one hand; liquid measuring cups that can be read from above without bending over; kettles with whistle lids that open automatically when tipped to pour; and tools with pressure-absorbing, non-slip handles that make them more efficient.
source: OXO/Universal Design
It’s great to see companies thinking about the wide variety of users that will hold and manipulate their products. In OXO’s case, making universally designed tools for cooking increases the amount of people that can continue cooking even if they have less than perfect ability. It also gives cooks the satisfaction of participating in something that gives them joy without the frustration. Evaluating how people function gives you answers on how to design products.
Next time you’re coming to the drawing board in creating a new product, program, building, or space – think about the hands and feet that will use your product.
(Photo Credit: eBomb716)