View Full Version : Student Troubles

16-06-14, 11:30
Hi, I'm a student studying product design, my project is based on designing for disabled people.
I have focused my project on aiding 11-18 year old students, I understand many of you will not be in school but if you are able to remember anything that you struggled with because of your disability or couldn't do because of it. Also if you could mention any products that you use that are essential to you being able to do stuff would be helpful.
Much appreciated :)

16-06-14, 15:02
Well, it may not be exciting but I will set you a challenge.

I have a physical disability and one hand and arm don't work.

The barrier that I face are child-resistant bottle tops - I can't depress the sides inwards, twist the cap and rotate to break the seals due to limited use of my good hand.

Typical examples of this type of lid are bleach bottles and mouth-wash bottles.

A good example of an easy to open ordinary bottle lid would be from the juice producer called 'innocent'.

Now is your opportunity to design a child-resistant bottle lid that can be opened by all but very young children!

16-06-14, 16:08
Thank you for your reply, although I do not think this would fit my brief set for my design, however your input is valuable to me as I can use it as primary research and it will inspire my designs to fit people with your disability.
Now to your problem, would it make it easier if the bottle you was trying to open was fixed in place and stationary or is it a case of your good hand not being able to do the mechanism needed?

16-06-14, 17:04
I can hold the bottle firm between my thighs if it isn't cylindrical. The issue is my finger and thumb cannot exercise enough pressure to push in opposite sides of the lid in order for the lid to twirl and break the plastic seal.

I end up putting the bottle and lid in the door frame - jamming the lid and turning the bottle insyead. Do some primary research in the shops to look at lids.

As I said 'Innocent' fruit juice bottles all have chunky lids that are easy to grip and unscrew but they obviously aren't meant to be child-resistant.

I've noticed how designers have taken on board feedback from customers who have influenced the shape and dispencing methods of shampoos that even leave the bottle being designed to stand upside down with the lid at the bottom so the thick shampoo gathers at the dispencing end - now that's thought through simple design.

16-06-14, 19:05
Hi Dan - this probably is not at all helpful but Lightouch's post has brought to mind several examples of 'packaging rage' that I've experienced - packets of bacon is one (the peel off top never peels off and a knife is the only way in). Biscuits with a little red tab that you pull to unleash the contents - these never work. The worst I've experienced is Milton Sterilising Fluid (it's not just for baby use & the wife and I are well past our sell by dates on that score) I defy anyone to be able to open a Milton bottle without a full set of tools - a triumph of design over functionality. Whilst I'm here why is it that motorway services buy 100's of small teapots that do not pour properly? You'd think that something with a basic function to pour hot liquid without spilling would not be beyond the wit of designers in the 21st century. Sorry I'm beginning to ramble now.

16-06-14, 20:42
It's worth trying to make links with one or more local special schools or mainstream schools with inclusion units. An alternative, and potentially even better, strategy is to make links with local occupational therapists serving the needs of your target group - you might be able to make those links via the local hospital(s). A third option would be working with one of the specialist rehabilitation charities.

The difficulty with focusing on a particular age group is that needs tend to be impairment specific rather than age specific. For example, a 13 year old power chair user and a 43 year old power chair user probably face similar hurdles, though the 13 year old may have slightly different experiences because they might not yet be using an adult size chair.

There's a vast spectrum of disability. Even with a broad category, such as "physically disabled", the needs of someone who is chronically fatigued and in chronic pain might be different to someone who is spinally injured. Even if both need a wheelchair, the spinally injured person might well be otherwise fit and well (and maybe even a Paralympic athlete), which will not be the case for someone who is chronically fatigued.

If you haven't done so already, it's worth doing a little background reading on the social model of disability, as your input will probably go down better if firmly grounded in the social model rather than the medical model.

16-06-14, 22:13
If you haven't done so already, it's worth doing a little background reading on the social model of disability, as your input will probably go down better if firmly grounded in the social model rather than the medical model.

Excellent advice Flymo. Perhaps the student should create a questionnaire too. One that addresses the disabling barriers facing disabled people with sensory, visual, physical and mental impairments.
Check out the free online survey website https://www.surveymonkey.com

The design student needs to frame his questions based on the social model of disability i.e. a person may have impairments but it's society that disables them through non-inclusive design. Only disabled people know what disabling barriers are created by society so should be included at all stages of design and development of new products and services to avoid being discriminated. :D