All you need is usefulness

Marta Jakubowska
From Poland
5 months in Hamburg
Industrial designer

Hi Marta! You’re specialised in inclusive design. What is that?

Inclusive design is an approach or maybe a way of thinking while designing. The aim of inclusive design is to create objects accessible for the widest group of users. Although it is impossible to create something for everyone because then it is also for nobody, we should still try to not exclude people. Let me use this example: when the entrance to the building is easily accessible for people on wheelchairs or parents with prams, it will be also comfortable for people who are able to walk. No matter what I will be work on in the future, I would like to follow this rule. In particular I am interested in designing home appliances and medical equipment.

Cool! Which of your designs are you most proud of?

I’m very proud of my graduation project: it concerns blind people and their need to be independent. I’ve designed two solutions which allow them to cook on an induction hob. You’ve probably never thought about it, but induction hobs are very user-friendly appliances, while at the same time they are totally inaccessible for blind people — a completely flat glass surface with touch sensors. I wanted to do something about that. The first solution is a set of convex stickers, which you can place on the glass so that a blind person can feel where the sensors are and could operate the hob easily. The second solution is a voice-controlling app for smartphone: you can talk to your phone and in this way use your stove top. I am working on introducing this project to the market.

Is there an everyday object that you especially love for its useful design?

There are a few objects which I really love. Usually people don’t consider them as designed objects, which actually is the best sign that they are very well-designed. These are the paperclip, rubber band, escalator, zipper and my favourite one: egg box. There are really everyday objects. Most of them were introduced to the market at the beginnings of the 20th century and they are still in use today. They haven’t been changed for more than 100 years, although technology today allows us to do much more. These designs are just brilliant.

Check out Marta’s inclusive designs in her portfolio, or add her on LinkedIn.

Photo credits: Janine Meyer

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