What it does
Oneware is a sink necessity that is designed specifically for those who only have one functioning arm. It is a series of modular units that aids them in various kitchen processes from food preparation to dish washing.
When it comes to design for the disability, many would think of designing products that are related to the medical field. However, most of the time, the main challenges faced by them are usually performing daily task such as household chores. More in-depth research was done prior to better understand the challenges of the target users through organisations that include Disabled People’s Association (DPA). Being able to link up with users from different background that includes amputees, people born with one arm, patients suffering from stroke and temporary hand injuries help to gain more insights of their lifestyle.
How it works
Kitchenware is one of the most common range of products that they faced due to the frequency of usage. This project aims to simplify household chores to be more effortless for the physically challenged users. Oneware consists of a main frame with module units that include a chopping board and a silicone net for washing of dishes. Unit for Chopping Board A lack of support to hold things down is one of the most common issues faced by them. This unit consists of a chopping board designed with structures that enable help them to hold the food in place while preparing for their meals. Unit for Dishwashing Washing of dishes for them was never easy. Plates and bowls tend to wobble around due to the contours at the back which led to much frustration when performing the task and inability to wash thoroughly. This unit is designed with a silicone grip to hold the dishes in place as they exert their strength on scrubbing the dishes clean without worrying.
This project went through the process of ethnography research that includes interview and observation of real users, concept generation and prototyping, several iterations of testing and evaluation, and lastly optimizing the design for manufacturing. Ethnography Research Prior understanding of their lifestyle through various media, literature reviews and books are done to understand their aspirations and problem. Research through role-playing helps to understand their perspective and relate better when they are sharing their insights. Concept Generation and Prototyping Experimentation of silicone and getting the right tension and flexibility is one of the main challenges, various grade, thickness, pattern, and sizes have been tested before finalising on the design. Another key consideration would be to be able to design to suit the manufacturing process in order to cut down the cost, making it affordable in the end. Testing and Evaluation Testing and evaluation of the products are done bi-weekly by meeting up with the users to gain their feedback. The products are placed with them for a week to use and feedback session to find out the areas that require improvement after a long-term usage, in order to develop the product further.
How it is different
Existing assistive products tend to be intrusive and thus leaving a strong social stigma for the users. Oneware aims to break through this by designing to suit the users and context, taking into consideration of functionality and aesthetic. The project also aims to achieve a low learning curve of the product, and not affecting the way of usage while they perform the task. Inspired by user behavior, Oneware is a set of sink necessities that focus more on the workflow and micro-movement to assist in their kitchen activities.
Manufacturing processes could further optimise for a small scale production. Details such as packaging and where it could be sold / distributed can further discuss with the organisations to reach out to more people in need. Although many felt that design for disability is considered as a niche market, it actually opens up to more possibilities and new innovation that could cater for the mass. At present, this product aims to be launch in small scale production. Eventually, I hope that it could help those in need and create awareness that disability inspired design in many aspects as well.
IKEA Young Designer Award Top 20 Finalist