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Universal Design

Have you ever seen a single glove on the street and wondered who lost it? We have too. As a reminder of the different hands our products need to comfortably fit - large, small, male, female, young, old and in between, OXO employees collect lost gloves around New York City and around the world. These gloves are prominently displayed at our office.

OXO was founded in 1990 on the philosophy of Universal Design, which means the design of products usable by as many people as possible. It is important to note that Universal Design does not mean designing products fully usable by everybody, since there is no product that can truly fulfill the needs of all users. But when all users' needs are taken into consideration in the initial design process, the result is a product that can be used by the broadest spectrum of users. In the case of OXO, it means designing products for young and old, male and female, left- and right-handed and many with special needs.

Universal Design can be found everywhere: buildings with access for all instead of a separate entrance for people with disabilities, unisex facilities where men or women have a place to attend to a child's needs, and graphics on signs that can be recognized and understood by anyone, regardless of language.

At OXO, living by Universal Design principles gives us an opportunity to see things from a different perspective. The goal of making products more usable forces us to first identify problems and inefficiencies of existing products (including our own), not only in terms of comfort, but performance as well. This gives us the foundation to meet our commitment of making only products that offer tangible improvements. Each year, OXO introduces more than 50 products. Many of these products take more than two years to develop. In fact, a few of the products never make it to the market because they fail to meet the OXO criteria.

For OXO, the principles of Universal Design mean a salad spinner that can be used with one hand; liquid measuring cups that can be read from above without bending over; kettles with whistle lids that open automatically when tipped to pour; and tools with pressure-absorbing, non-slip handles that make them more efficient.