En route to what was likely going to be an exciting but long evening, my niece’s high school graduation, we decided to make a quick stop at a Burger King to grab a snack and beverage. Passionate about usability and accessibility in products, technology and process design, you can probably imagine the surprise and joy I felt when my eyes landed on the newly designed ice tea dispenser sitting next to the soda fountain in the self-serve beverage area. This new ice tea dispenser has two selector options, one for traditional walk up service and the other positioned selection buttons lower and closer to the rail. Mesmerized by what I saw, I had to give both selection techniques, and all four flavors, a try.
Kudos to Burger King for acknowledging that not every customer walks up to the ice tea dispenser. Some customers rely on their ride to navigate the order and food pick up process via their wheelchair. This new ‘ride up’ ice tea selector is positioned so that customers who make their way through the line in a wheelchair or with a walker have easier, independent access to beverage selections. In addition, the design of the buttons to select the actual flavor fosters use by those with muscular or other mobility issues like arthritis.
More and more organizations, like Burger King have begun to recognize how physical and cognitive challenges impact the way customers interact with products, technology and processes. Many companies are taking steps to modify designs to make them easier for all customers and the ice tea machine design at Burger King is just one example.
Have you come across any examples of product, technology or process designs that improve customers experiences for people with cognitive or physical challenges? If so, it would be great to hear about them and other comments you have on the topic.