Vox Pop

The Design Business Association Design Challenge invites designers to make everyday activities and products more accessible and easier to use for more people. What everyday item do you think is crying out for a redesign and why?

‘A personal bête noire is the petrol pump. I resent the tedious, weekly ordeal of exerting a precise pressure (too little and it takes forever, too much and it cuts you off) on a freezing cold lump of metal “designed” for a larger, stronger hand (how do people with arthritis cope?). Automatic pumps are hardly the design challenge of the decade, so why don’t we have them in this country?’

Jo O’Driscoll, Head of design, BAA

‘London is a unique and special city and needs a unique and special bus, basically an updated version of Douglas Scott’s eponymous – but sadly no longer ubiquitous – Routemaster. Keep the good bits – the granny seats, the suicide platform and the view up top at the front – and scale it up by 10 per cent. Add brakes and suspension and Bob’s yer uncle. Any more fares?’

Andy Davey, Principle, TKO

‘With so many of our industrial products being well designed as a matter of course, it’s difficult without appearing pernickety to find an area of life that hasn’t undergone intense scrutiny by the designer set. However, among the cornucopia of consumption that’s swilling around pre-Christmas, has anybody found the perfect gift yet for their mum?’

Richard Woolf, Director, McDaniel Woolf

‘Someone suggested the garden gnome as an everyday object with non-existent accessibility. However, having just been given an electric one which does something unmentionable I went off the idea. My suggestion is the cordless hairdryer: I’ve never seen one. Just the job for those who need to dash from mirror to mirror and the odd male colleague in the industry still sporting a ponytail.’

Steve Collis, Director, JHP

‘Tin openers should be among the simplest products to use, but I have never discovered one that worked properly. There must be solutions apart from enormous electric-powered gadgets – who has room for these? Manufacturers of canned products have clearly given up – most cans now have rip-off lids – but these are only marginally easier. Will the tin opener become extinct?’

Dorothy MacKenzie, Director, Dragon International

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