Designing For The Masses

Ever wonder what your carrot peeler and online ordering technology have in common? Probably not, but anyone interested in digital solutions for their restaurant should know this. 

Nearly three decades ago, a man named Sam Farber noticed his wife was having trouble holding her peeler due to arthritis. Sam saw this as an opportunity to create easy-to-use tools for arthritis sufferers, which ended up benefiting the masses. Today his tools, sold under the brand OXO, can be found in millions of households around the world. 

What Sam accomplished in the 1980's is now referred to as inclusive design, and is one of the hottest trends in technology design today. Inclusive design "considers the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age, and other factors."*

So how can we apply this to restaurant technology? Here are a few key ways: 

  • Design for the vision impaired: Think big, bold CTA's, and high contrast screens. This benefits not only the vision impaired, but also people that are reading in bright sunlight, etc. 
  • Design for people in wheelchairs: For a product like self-service kiosks, use an intuitive interface with scrolling capabilities. This also makes it accessible to people of different heights, including shorter people and children. 
  • Design for people using only one arm: This could apply to people with a broken arm, or ones who are simply using their arm for something else (like holding a crying child). For this group, ordering sites - especially mobile- should not involve unnecessary steps. They should be so intuitive that someone could easily drive and place an order at the same time (not that we endorse that, of course).

By focusing on what's universally important to all people, inclusively designed products result in a better experience for all.

*OCAD University Inclusive Design Research Centre Blog