Alaster Yoxall

Packing Design for Accessibility


Output: Journal Article

Significant previous research has been undertaken looking the demands that packs place on consumers in terms of their physical attributes, such as strength and finger manipulation and also their ability to perceive and understand the information that the pack provides the user. These demands are usually studied in isolation.

This study looks at these factors in combination using a range of methods including observation, motion capture, questionnaires along with dexterity and cognitive distraction tests combined with ergonomic analysis to understand the relationship between the pack form, hand manipulation and cognition.

Six common packs were selected for testing including crisps, chocolate, Weetabix, pens , biscuits and noodles, to provide a range of physical and cognitive demands. The participants were asked to open the packs whilst wearing eye-tracking glasses and read random numbers displayed on a screen. This enabled the researchers to see what the participants were looking at and measure the cognitive demand of each pack. The researchers also measured the dextrous demand when opening the packs using infra-red cameras tracking the finger movements. From this work researchers were able to determine which packs were more physically and cognitively demanding.

The results confirmed that the dexterous demands of a task can be linked to the cognitive demands. Further, the paper developed the concept of the ‘Design Model’ of packaging use and the ‘User Model’ where the design model is using the pack how the designers intended and the user model how it is actually used. Packs were rated most easily openable where the design model most closely matched the user model. This concept of understanding the design model and user model was instrumental in Britvic developing user test panel protocols for its New Packaging Development process.

Research Output

This collection of images displays the outputs from this project. Find out more details in the full case study below.

Research Method

The research process utilised a mixed methods approach to the study, including semi-structured interviews withparticipants about packaging difficulty, assessment of dexterity using the Purdue Pegboard test, a Cognitive Distraction Test combined with Eye-Tracking Glasses, Motion Capture tracking and analytical analysis in Matlab

Key Methodologies:

Full Project Output

REF '21

To learn more about the output, methods and dissemination of this work, explore the full project submission.

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Alaster Yoxall