Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Designing for Boomer butts

…"@ issue" is a high-end mag for industrial and graphic designers put out by the Corporate Design Foundation.

…Recently, it took on the Universal Seven Design Principles as applied to Boomers.

…Over the next 25 years, the number of people over 65 will more than double. More than 20% of the population will be old.

…Supposedly, this bunch also won’t settle for ugly or inconvenient.

…So people will have to apply the Seven Universal Design Principles.

…Number one is to make it equal to all users. Lots of things are designed to the “norm,” they say. This is thin, 30, and about 5’6” tall. Ooops.

…Number two is minimize physical effort. If you have arthritis, grasping a doorknob can hurt! Older people get tired quicker. Products that cause all users to maintain a neutral position, sitting or standing, but not stooping, and are quick, will be best!

…Number three is to design in adequate size and space. Make sure the wheelchair can fit through the door, turn around and leave. Put a place to hang a cane—they are hard to get off the floor.

…Four, keep it simple and intuitive. One should not have to read a label to open a cap. (HA likes how they put the instructions in raised letters on white. Or—what is up with that stupid little arrow thing you have to line up on pill bottles?)

…Five, allow for flexible use. It does not have to be a right-handed world. How about a way for a seated person to cook? Adjustable showerheads are also good. Or a shower seat.

…Make information perceptible. Try pictures, sound and maybe touch…multiple ways of saying how to use the item.

…And seven, build in error tolerance. Doorbells and kitchen timers can flash as well as ”ting.” Colors and markers can indicate the depth of a stair. Make print bigger, paper glarefree.

…And might I add? No more childproof caps!!! You need to find a kid to open those. And if you are old, you have already chased all the kids off your lawn and way down the block.

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