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Hi! I’m Vicky, A professional ergonomist who spends time in the wilds of the real world

Design Classic: The kidney bean laundry basket

Design Classic: The kidney bean laundry basket

I love a good bit of simple design, and there are some really simple designs that just last.  You don’t usually notice them because they are just part of the fabric of how things are.

One of my favourites of those is the kidney shaped laundry basket.  It is not a glamorous object, but it does its job perfectly well.  Why?

Laundry basket ergonomics
Laundry basket ergonomics
  1. Sizing - it is just the right size for a load of washing, so it is consistent with the demands of the task and integrates perfectly with other equipment that it is used alongside.

  2. Dimensions - the length and width of the basket enable it to be put on the floor in front of the washing machine and for you to lean over it to load and unload.  The height fits perfectly under the washing machine door.  

  3. Handles - the positioning of two sets of handles gives flexibility of use.

  4. The kidney shape - the inclusion of the small, curved, cut out area is the killer app of the laundry basket world.  It makes it easy to carry on your side using only one hand, and encourages you to carry it closer to your body supporting better manual handling.

If any of these things were not there, the design simply wouldn’t work and bringing them all together gives a simple everyday piece of design which has been around for years.

Laundry basket ergonomics
Three common light switch usability fails

Three common light switch usability fails

Five Stars for usability

Five Stars for usability