Last month, the Japanese design studio Nendo announced it had created a new design of a ubiquitous product that we all carry around every day: the keys to our front doors.
Nendo’s re-design focuses on the key’s head. Instead of a round or triangular shape, the Nendo key’s handle, the part where you hold it, juts out at a right angle to the teeth. This creates an L-shaped key that makes a major difference in the ease with which it can be turned in stubborn locks.
(L-shaped) Key to Accessibility
This small change in the shape of the key makes it much easier to use and more accessible to all users. With the new shape, the key head functions as a lever that requires much less muscular effort and force to be turned than a normal key. This feature makes it more accessible to older populations, people with mobility challenges, and anyone who has struggled to turn a key in a disagreeable lock (so really, all of us). Who would have thought that such a small change could make such a significant difference?
Although the changes that Nendo introduces aren’t huge, the impact of this new design is. It not only makes the key easier to use, but also indicates to users with low vision or in dark areas the correct alignment.
Nendo’s design is an example of how even the most mundane, omnipresent, everyday objects are worth revising. When we design for accessibility, we all benefit.