Functional design: practical VS style

It’s no secret that when we get older, our bodies tend to give way. Arthritis is the most common problem that comes with age, it is the inflammation of the joints which cause pain and in turn this does effect everyday routine and lifestyle. Opening a jar of jam may be hard to do with the sudden aches and pains that you experience in the joints of your hands. Bending down to pick up and reach for something that fell on the floor such as a piece of paper may become something of a difficult task to do.

So what happens when we need that extra bit of help? Household ‘aids’ that are designed for this purpose are given to you, yet from a designers point of view, they do not only look unpleasant, it’s not just about questioning their stylistic qualities or “it’s not pretty enough so I am not using that!”

No, its the function and purpose of them that is yet to be changed, developed and refined. It seems as though they haven’t kept in mind that the people using these items have tastes, likes and dislikes like everyones else, regardless of their ability. Just because the majority of the target audience are elderly, don’t they deserve a quality product?

Take a look and see what you think….

 

 

Not impressive is it? The ‘reacher’ seems to be better design in terms of colour composition, yet it screams HELP! AID! I CAN’T MANAGE! Wheres the attention to detail? The personalised touch of having care put into it? Considering it is a caring item, it looks ver cold and hostile. Yet in terms of being functional, it works to some degree. However, if picking up a heavy item the balance of the item in relation to the arm is creating more pressure on the hand and wrist, the hand will start to shake as the weight is not easily distributed and the individual may drop the item. So in terms of being practical and functional, has it worked? No.

 

The second item, the jar opener has an interesting shape to it, yet the surface is very harsh and rough, it is almost like touching sand paper in rubber form. So not very comfortable considering you have arthritis and have to grip the sand paper surface which will cause some sort of friction.

 

These issues have been raised by OCD MAG as we felt that the designs didn’t do justice to the individuals using them, someones got to speak up right?!

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