A stove top reminds us that the appropriateness of a design is often in the eye of the beholder
By Steve Corak, Contributor
Do you see a problem in the photo below of my kitchen stove? I'll give you a hint: I'm left handed!
Sometimes it seems as though the right-handed designers and engineers of the world are out to get us lefties. You’d think that the location of the controls on my kitchen stove top would be considered a serious safety issue. Or, lefties might be expected to stand on their head to cook.
When I was in first grade, I could not cut a sheet of paper to save my life. The scissors just didn’t work. This caused me a great deal of stress during art class, especially when the teacher would tell me that my work “should be neater.” I’d look around the room and see all of my friends cutting paper without the slightest problem. I, on the other hand, had to tear the paper with my fingers. I’d even try using somebody else’s scissors that seemed to work just fine, but they wouldn’t work for me.
Clearly, I was the problem and it had nothing to do with the scissors. Right? Fortunately for me, the teacher took maternity leave and a new teacher came in. She sent home a note to my mother (pinned to my shirt, no doubt) asking her to buy me a pair of “LEFTY” scissors. Even after 45 years, I can still remember the exact moment when I took those new scissors into my hand and effortlessly sliced the paper. Wow! I’ve been enamored with the notion of “appropriate” design ever since.
Steve Corak is Innovation Manager at Pioneer Hi-Bred International, A DuPont Business