Need someone to lead product or development at your software company? I lead product and engineering teams and I'm looking for my next opportunity. Check out my resume and get in touch.

Usability for Everyday Things

Freshness Warning
This article is over 18 years old. It's possible that the information you read below isn't current.

Makers of everyday things like toothbrushes and spatulas have started researching how people actually use their products and use that knowledge to design a better product.

Oxo’s Good Grips line of kitchen utensils and tools fit easily in the hand and are easier to use than their traditional counterparts. When they noticed that people had trouble slicing bread because their hand reached the counter before the knife made it all the way through the bread, Oxo created the Offset Bread Knife.

Radius has applied the usability concept to make "mouth-friendly toothbrushes" with larger handles and softer, longer-lasting bristles. By applying usability research to the toothbrush, Radius has seen success in what traditionally was a commodity market. The dentist gives away toothbrushes, yet Radius is able to sell their mouth-friendly designs for $9 apiece.

If you want to increase demand for your product, invest more time and money in creating a product that is easier to use.

Kevin Foley
December 2, 2004 8:23 AM

Adam Many thanks for the comments on RADIUS - much appreciated. Our concept on design is also carried through into manufacturing. Most design orientated companies have developed as Sales/Marketing/Design firms and contracted manufacturing out to Asia. We believe that you learn important stuff from actually making the product. Our latest toothbrush - RADIUS Intelligent, has an electronic handle that times your brushing and tells you when you have used it 180 times (3 months) and when to change the replaceable head - these being the two most critical components of a good oral hygiene regimen. We made the handle in China (to our electronic design) but the bristles are all made here - this is the high tech bit. It is explained on our site. many thanks Kevin President of RADIUS

Your comments:

Text only, no HTML. URLs will automatically be converted to links. Your email address is required, but it will not be displayed on the site.

Name:

Not your company or your SEO link. Comments without a real name will be deleted as spam.

Email: (not displayed)

If you don't feel comfortable giving me your real email address, don't expect me to feel comfortable publishing your comment.

Website (optional):

Recently Written

A framework for onboarding new employees (May 15)
There’s no single good way to onboard an employee that works for every role. Here's a framework for creating a process that you can adapt to each situation.
TV hosts as a guide for software managers (May 10)
Software managers can learn a lot from journalists or late night TV hosts and how they interview people.
The Improvement Flywheel (Apr 29)
An incredible flywheel for the improvement of a development team. Fix a few things, and everything starts getting better.
Managers and technical ability (Dec 26)
In technical fields, the closer you are to the actual work being done, the closer your skills need to resemble those of the people doing the work.
Dysfunctions of output-oriented software teams (Sep 17)
Whatever you call it, the symptom is that you're measuring your progress by how much you build and deliver instead of measuring success by the amount of customer value you create.
Evaluative and generative product development (Aug 30)
Customers never even talk to the companies that don't fit their needs at all. If the only product ideas you're considering are those that meet the needs of your current customers, then you're only going to find new customers that look exactly like your current customers.
Product Manager Career Ladder (Aug 19)
What are the steps along the product management career path?
Building the Customer-Informed Product (Aug 15)
Strong products aren't composed of a list of features dictated by customers. They are guided by strong visions, and the execution of that vision is the primary focus of product development.

Older...

What I'm Reading

Contact

Adam Kalsey

+1 916 600 2497

Resume

Public Key

© 1999-2020 Adam Kalsey.