The Swedish furniture maker is making an attempt at making their products all accessible
Ikea was started as a platform for affordable, practical, yet neat looking furniture. Since its inception, the Swedish company has grown into a multi-billion dollar juggernaut, rapidly expanding on a global level. The furniture they make, however, is not completely flawless. Their chairs and sofas do not have much elevation from ground level, the handles on their closets and cupboards are impossibly small, and their switches too, are too small for comfort. All these factors have rendered their products practically unusable by the differently abled. In an attempt to set that record straight, Ikea Israel, is developing a range of 3-D printed add-ons for their products, to make them accessible by all.
The project, dubbed Ikea ‘ThisAbles’, include minor modifications to already existing products, which significantly increase their ease of use. The new line of products include easy handles, mega switches, glass bumpers, popup handles, friendly zippers, and many other such thoughtful innovations. The products are designed in a manner that allows users to simply slip them on to existing products, they fit perfectly as demonstrated by a promotional video released by Ikea. The video also showed how these add-ons can seamlessly fit into the product, while boosting usability, especially for the disabled. The couch lifter, for instance, is a set of extensions, which can be fitted on the legs of the couch, to raise its elevation and make it easier to get up.
This new line of products certainly seem to address all the right issues. Ikea products have always been criticized for their accessibility, an issue raised not just by customers with disabilities, but perfectly fit customers as well. The products have been developed in association with two non-profit organizations, Milbat and Access Israel.