Home I Spy with my Ergo Eyes…Ergonomics in Design Ergonomics Done Right®

Written by: humantech on January 9th, 2012

by Cecilia Chan

Cecilia ChanWhile on a recent site visit, two interesting designs caught my eyes.

As I steered away from the airport parking lot in a Ford Focus rental, I noticed two angled protrusions located conveniently at the 10 and 2 positions on the steering wheel right where my thumbs were resting. It was so strange! See for yourself. (Disclaimer: Photos were taken while the car was parked.) I couldn’t resist comparing this to my Camry steering wheel, a standard cylindrically-shaped steering wheel with grooves on the underside. For the rest of my trip, I pondered about the purpose of these protrusions. My conclusion is that they help to eliminate the bent thumb postures that result from gripping a conventional steering wheel. They act as a thumb rest and prevent drivers from exerting the death grip. As the miles passed, I came to appreciate the design more and more. Their 10 and 2 locations promote good driving habits, but on the down side, also prevent drivers from changing their arm/shoulder postures, which may lead to fatigue. I’d still give this design two thumbs up though! Are you a Ford Focus owner or does your steering wheel have a similar design?

The second design can be found inside the women’s washroom at Walmart. I call this design ‘the wave’. The washroom sinks are designed like the crests of a wave, with the two middle sinks located slightly higher than the outside sinks. Talk about accommodating the population! Taller women would find the higher sinks easier to use, reducing butts up postures, while shorter women (like myself) would find the lower sinks more comfortable to use, reducing awkward shoulder postures. This design idea is also great for moms with young children – no need to lift them up as high or better yet, children may be able to tip toe up to the sink themselves to wash their hands. What a great idea! Does your neighborhood Walmart washroom have a similar design?

2 responses to “I Spy with my Ergo Eyes…Ergonomics in Design”

  1. Drew Harnish says:

    I spend about 2 hours a day with my hands on the wheel so I certainly appreciate the cockpit design of my 2011 Hyundai Tucson. Prior to owning the Tucson, I drove a Scion TC. Like your rental, the steering wheels of both cars feature grooves at the 10 and 2 positions. However, I did notice that the Tucson has a 4-spoke design (at 3, 5, 7, and 9 o’clock) rather than the TC’s T-shaped design. During my commute, I frequently change hand positions and welcome the extra placement options Hyundai has provided.

  2. Cecilia says:

    Thanks for sharing! I have been a commuter myself and my back/shoulder muscles appreciate the changes in postures! This brings up a good point – for the commuters out there, if you are thinking of purchasing a new vehicle, consider the steering wheel design in your purchase. Does it afford comfortable gripping for prolonged driving, in addition to steering wheel controls.

    PS. Do you have a photo you can share with us?

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