One goal, or rather the goal of good product design is to ball up and toss the saying, “beauty is pain.” The product itself should be the manifestation of a well-fostered relationship between aesthetics and usability. This includes the important, yet sometimes overlooked, application of ergonomics to the product design process.
Think about the chair you’re siting in. How does it cradle you? Does it support your back? How does it make you feel emotionally? Calm? Relaxed? If it’s your couch, are you attached (maybe even literally) to it? Now think back to the chairs you sat in when you were in high school. Which one is more comfortable?
It almost seems like those cold, hard, straight-backed chairs of high school were designed to cause us to shift in our seats. Designed to be uncomfortable. What an evil ploy to keep us awake in class.
When we search for chairs for our home or office, we look for something more comfortable. Something that puts less stress on our bodies and – BONUS – is safer for us to use in the long run.
What is ergonomic design? It’s designing to last.
A product designed ergonomically lessens emotional and physical stress on the consumer and increases comfort and usability. The more comfortable and efficient it is to use a product, the longer we want it in our lives.
If you want to replace your couch or office chair with your chair from high school, let me hear an, “OH YEAH!” I can’t hear you! Oh… that’s because you didn’t say anything.
Would you be loyal to a brand that designed office chairs with spikes on the seat? Running shoes that refused to bend at the toe? Pillows made of quartz?!
I’m aware that these examples seem a little extreme, but hear me out. Ergonomic design with demographic extremes in mind works. Everyone can dig it: Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and even picky little Goldilocks.
Need more proof that ergonomic design for the extremes is the way to go? Get comfortable in your Sleep Number Bed and I’ll tell you a little story:
Once upon a time, there was a man named Sam.
Sam was an ‘extremes’ man.
Some might say he thought too much in black and white.
Some may have thought he’d never get it just right.
It was always male or female, righty or lefty,
Old or young, or tiny or hefty.
Thinking of his wife, he heard the call:
Design kitchen products for one, and then all!
To cure his wife’s arthritic blues,
He designed things we could all easily use.
Along came Good Grips – one hell of an ergonomic design.
And everyone likes it way more than just fine.
Sam Farber created the Good Grips line of products with his wife’s arthritis in mind. That’s one end of the demographic spectrum in several ways: age, fragility and physical ability.
What’s between black and white? Gray…Us. Every personality, body type and physical ability possible. We know that Farber thinks in black and white to design for everyone. I mean, just look at the Good Grips logo!
Ergonomic design is important to the user. Conscious or not, it creates a bond with the consumer, both emotionally and physically. This is great for Sam because Good Grips has a huge following. Ergonomic products maximize the lifespan of a design and create a level of brand loyalty that will blow your mind.
Design ergonomically, and start off in black and white. There’s no better way to get to gray.