This post was originally written a few months ago and posted on my personal blog. I’ve done some slight revisions and posted it here on the new Push Design site as well.
I recently watched Gary Hustwit’s latest film Objectified and have been looking for a chance to write something about industrial design. In the extra interviews on the Objectified DVD Mark Newson spoke about the deplorable state of baby product design. My wife and I have a fourteen month old and although baby products are not particularly attractive in an aesthetic sense I haven’t had much cause to complain until a couple months ago. Norah, our baby, was pretty close to walking so Sierra, my wife, got her a stroller that she could push to start making some steps. After struggling to put the thing together and leaving some screws only half screwed in because they are in an impossible to get to part of the stroller, we were ready to let Norah give it a go. Now babies only have one direction and typically one speed when using a toy like this so they go until they run into something. When Norah ran into our couch the stroller immediately tipped forward and sent her toppling over. Luckily she’s a trooper and was fine, but it seemed like such an oversight that I can’t help but think that there was not much usability testing put into the stroller.
The fact that the wheels aren’t out in front are the reason that shopping carts don’t flip into the air when they roll into things. One solution based off of that observation could be something like this:
Luckily we did not have to deal with this particular toy for long. Norah received a radio flyer cart for Christmas and while it may not have pink parts that play jingles it does have a large basket for carrying blocks, stuffed animals, Mom’s cell phone, etc. Best of all, the wheels are not out front so it doesn’t tip. Shows what a little design thinking can achieve.