Kitchen Utensil Redesign

This project had two primary goals: first, redesign an ordinary kitchen tong for users who had limited hand mobility due conditions such as stroke, arthritis or other hand injuries. And secondly, create a tool with simple yet distinctive craftsmanship that would be desired by the users in lieu of the typical discount retail kitchen tong.

I visited multiple times the assisted living home where my resident user group lived. Through these meetings, I came to respect and understand the various members and the daily challenges they faced.  

For my first iteration of the kitchen tong, the tongs mechanism remained closed in the resting position and could be opened with finger pressure. Although the open pressure design idea was clever, the users didn’t like it, they didn’t have the hand strength and intuitive knowledge to comfortably use this design. That day, I learned how it felt to have an idea completely rejected. I needed to listen to my users and create a solution that not only worked beautifully, but addressed the users’ needs.

Essentially starting over, I revised my thinking and remained focused on solutions that responded specifically to the needs and concerns of the users. At the final presentation to the user group, I received very positive feedback, including: the aesthetic use of wood, ease of pressure to close, comfortable to hold, and overall desirability of the product.

This project taught me:

  • - Iterative Design
  • - Listening to the Focus Group
  • - Being Confident in my Ideas
  • - Designing for others, not myself