Inclusive Design, Day 11/15: OXO Figured It Out

This is day 11 of 15 in a short series on inclusive design. If you missed earlier posts, see day 1 here or view the full list.


The “OXO Good Grips Story” is an astounding example of inclusive design, solving for one and extending to many. An opportunity that grew from one person’s kitchen solution into a $60 million business.

A view of the original kitchen vegetable peeler made of metal.
The original peeler is made of sharp metal.

Sam Farber — who created Copco enamel cast-iron cookware in 1960 — later developed what is now the quintessential OXO kitchen peeler from seeing his wife struggle with the classic shape and size of metal kitchen tools. He solved her pain by creating an ergonomic and comfortable grip that even people with arthritis could use. Turns out everyone else loves it, too.

The idea was always, from the start, to make useful products for people of all ages and levels of dexterity. We can improve every day life for people, without them even knowing or thinking about it. — Sam Farber

Watch the video, “Objectified: Smart Design OXO Good Grips Story,” for a behind-the-scenes look at OXO’s product development process and inclusive mindset.

Read more history in a case study from The Center for Universal Design: OXO International Becomes a Universal Design Icon (2000).

A view of the OXO peeler with an ergonomic handle.
The OXO version of the peeler in good design for everyone.

For day 12 of 15 of inclusive design, I’ll share about reduced anxiety when publishing to WordPress.com websites. A problem solved originally for one use case by adding an extra step for confidence.


About this Inclusive Design series In 4 days I’ll give a talk on inclusive design at WordCamp Phoenix 2018. Leading up to the conference I’m publishing notes on voices, stories, products, and other resources: everything I’m learning about this emerging practice. This is day 11 of 15. Read more about the series.

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