Intuitive Packaging: Tackling the Demon of Openability

I was trying to assess the academic research in the packaging domain when I happened to see the University of Twente research site. I found its Intuitive Packaging section really interesting.

Vimal K. Puthiyadath

The work focuses on an interesting aspect of packaging: openability. Researchers there plan to gather "insights into aspects that are related to the openability of packaging on both physical and cognitive aspects and to translate these findings into models and design rules that can be directly applied in the daily practise of designing packaging," the website says.

Openability of packaging is a big problem for many consumers. With an aging society, this problem will only grow bigger. Many people with impaired abilities, opening packaging has become a frustrating action or even an impossible task. People do not understand where to start, how to pull, push, turn or twist, and therefore are not able to open many types of packaging. The problem has more aspects like knowing what to do (the concept of opening), the required forces, the grip, etc.

Another interesting thing the research team is trying to tackle is the definition of convenience, "perhaps the most used word in the packaging industry," according to the website.

all the aspects that should be part of the definition of convenience are collected and are set in a scheme. Such a scheme has been the start of several exercises done by students and by consumers supervised by students. The gathered and analysed information showed that rituals are part of openability and problems with opening range from not understanding where to start to not being able to apply the required force. Furthermore theories and standards on usability and accessibility should be translated to the field of packaging development.

This is an interesting site, and I thought you all would benefit from the information there.

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Vimal K. Puthiyadath, Biomedical Electronics Engineer

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