Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) National Technical Forums, which were held alongside AUSPACK 2009, saw the launch of the Ease of Use programme, designed for consumer products and packaging.
According to Arthritis Australia, the Ease of Use programme was developed in association with Arthritis New Zealand. The programme recognises companies that design user-friendly, easy-to-open consumer packaging and products.
Arthritis Australia observe that with the ageing population in Australia and New Zealand, now is the time for manufacturers to design products and packaging that considers openability and ease-of-use. As a body ages, upper body mobility, finger strength, dexterity and reach are limited. Eyesight also becomes restricted as people age. These limitations in function reduce a consumer’s ability to open packaging. The Ease of Use programme enables manufacturers who are already designing user-friendly packaging and products to be recognised for their efforts.
Following are some of the packaging designs that can cause ‘wrap rage’:
- Cans with pull ring tabs
- Invisible or unaligned tear notches
- Hard to tear strips on cardboard packs
- Zip tracks that do not re-seal
- Press and seal strips
- Jars with round plastic lids and without serration
- Tightly sealed foil lids
- Screw-tops on jars needing strength to open
- Miniscule instructions and containers that are coded as child-proof and adult-proof
Arthritis Australia note that the Ease of Use programme is an opportunity for manufacturers to start considering ease of opening as a critical element of their packaging and product design. The Ease of Use trademark on products sends a user-friendly signal to consumers while assuring quality. Any product or packaging that has user-friendly, easy-to-open design may qualify for the Ease of Use trademark. This covers products from food and beverage packaging through to household, garden and sporting goods. Arthritis Australia point out that manufacturers who earn the Ease of Use trademark can gain a powerful business tool assuring consumers that their needs are being recognised and the logo will also differentiate user-friendly, easy-to-open brands in-store.