Adapting Ergonomic Design Principles - Starting with Left-Handers

TechNews Writer
Mon Sep 20, 2021

Most products, tools, office equipment, and spaces are often designed considering right-handed individuals. On the contrary, the functional needs of left-handed individuals are relatively overlooked and they come across a specific amount of inconvenience and stress in carrying out their activities on a daily basis in such an environment. They need to adapt to the products that operate in a certain way with their non-dominant hand. The use of ergonomics while designing products is crucial, and these products must cater to the user’s needs. Ergonomics aims to achieve the adaptability of the office design to people. Adapting ergonomic design principles in a space should be done by taking into account the user’s capabilities and limitations.
Left-handedness affects between 8 and 12 percent of the population, according to the most widely accepted data. The majority of individuals might not realize it, but it is a right-handed world. In technologically advanced civilizations, up to 98 percent of the equipment is designed for right-handed people, including simple tools that are widely used in the home environment, such as scissors, can openers, and kitchen utensils. Moreover, inconvenience can be caused to the left-handed users with all the everyday facilities geared for the right-handed. Since most of these are made with reference to right-handed people, a left-handed person has to twist his or her left arm or use his or her right hand, the non-dominant hand, unnaturally. Even at the table during mealtimes, a left-handed person has got to sit at the far-left end of the table. Their arms would be banging together with the person seated to the left if he or she opted to sit in the middle of a seat on the right. 
Therefore, there is a need for a universal design approach in order to avoid such challenges for left-handed people.
An awareness of ergonomics will facilitate users living in an environment to use products comfortably and will also give rise to an inclusive environment that will not outnumber left-handers in specific. The approach thus leads to incorporating universal design and improved products that can be solved through innovative manufacturing technology.




Appears in
2021 - Fall - Issue 3