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

Is there any place for ergonomics at Christmas?

Is there any place for ergonomics at Christmas?

We are enjoying the start of the festive season here at the Ergonomist in the Wild household, and it got me thinking about writing a seasonal post.  So I ran through the items I use at Christmas for an example of really great ergonomics in design.  And I came up pretty short.  

In fact, it got me wondering if there is any place for ergonomic design Christmas?

More than that, I think that at Christmas we even take a break from usability, and accept a that our day-to-day lives will be more difficult.  

  • We take our normal usable living room layout and squash things up to fit in a beautiful tree.

  • We take our adequately sized dining table and fit as many merry makers around it as we can.

  • We put decorations on surfaces and furniture in front of cupboards so that getting one thing out involves moving at least one other thing.

In short, we stop thinking like ergonomists.  Instead we think about other qualities, things which are quite lovely - about making a beautiful and magical space, about how to make others and our time more enjoyable.  

That is, of course, wonderful - but looking at the items I get out of the loft at Christmas, there is an explicit absence of anything usable.  We have to be able to do better than this.

Our wreath does not even have a place to attach the hook on the back of it, meaning it almost always falls down a couple of times before I manage to get it to stay in the right place.

Wreath usability

Our Christmas candle holders are so deep I have to light the t-lights in my hand and then carefully drop them into the candle holder - often resulting in the candle blowing out and having to start again.

Candle usability

As for my window and Christmas tree lights - everyday I crawl on the ground, contorting myself around the squashed up living room furniture to turn them on in the morning and off in the evening.  Would it be so hard for there to be a switch somewhere accessible on the lights?

Fairy light usability
Fairy light usability 2

But yet I do all these things happily.  Why? because it’s Christmas.

Over the next few weeks I am going to look out for any sign of ergonomics having an impact at Christmas - if you have any good spots of usable seasonal items - please be in touch!

Happy Christmas!

Two Christmas Design Heroes

Two Christmas Design Heroes

Almost perfect - Ergonomic design for toddlers on the move

Almost perfect - Ergonomic design for toddlers on the move