Output: Journal Article
Society is ageing, and with this ageing comes a natural decline in strength, dexterity, and cognition along with a higher probability of developing some form of chronic illness. This decline in capability can lead to significant issues in undertaking common activities of daily living such as bathing, cooking, and eating.
Accessibility of packaged food is a common issue for many older people leading to frustration at the very least, and possible malnutrition and hospital admission at worst. Whilst most previous studies have tended to look at decline in strength as the prevailing issue, many common packaging items such as crisps, biscuits, meat and cheese, for example, require a substantial amount of dexterity and finger manipulation to access successfully and are often described by consumers as ‘fiddly’.
However, there has been little work to understand what makes a pack ‘fiddly’ and how different packaging is perceived by consumers and the dextrous demands different packaging places on those consumers. In this study, ten subjects were examined using a 10-camera optoelectronic motion capture system opening three common packaging types and their dexterity measured using a Perdue Pegboard.
The results showed that finger correlations vary widely across the differing pack formats with the crisps having the lowest finger movement correlation and the jar having the highest. Speed and jerk metrics were also seen to vary across the various pack formats. However, finger correlations were seen to be more relevant to perceived dexterity of pack opening than finger speeds and jerk motions.
The implications for the design of packaging are such that tabs and other handling areas should be designed to encourage highly correlated finger movements. This finding along with other elements of this research has been incorporated in the new ISO standard BS ISO 22015, Packaging Accessible Design. Handling and Manipulation and the design of new easy open drinks cuplets.
This collection of images displays the outputs from this project. Find out more details in the full case study below.
The research process utilised a mixed methods approach utilizing semi-structured interviews, observation, measuring dexterity using the Perdue Pegboard and A 10-camera optoelectronic motion capture system.