After completing a major review on a clients website for disabled browser compatibility I was talking to a friend about it, and he was bemoaning that his new drawing tablet had a shaped pen with buttons setup for right handed users. As a left handed graphic and web designer I have spent years working with things designed for right handed users. Things like shaped ergonomic mice and trackball mice designed for right hand use. Even the computer keyboards are set for a right handed user with the keypad and arrow keys on the right hand side.

Years ago Colin and myself ran a freelancing design business called ‘Keep Left Design’ as both of us are left handed. Surprisingly about eighty to ninety percent of our clients were left handed as well. It was interesting to see how many people in creative roles were left handed.

Now, to the point of this little post. When does a physical preference for the use of the left hand get considered in the design process? I am fortunate in that living in Australia means I get to have my gearstick on the left.

Ever notice if there are double doors the left will invariably be the one they lock? It would be nice to have some consideration of ‘handedness’ in product and package design. Maybe the next two or three packages I design should be done to suit us lefties!

Any other good examples of poorly designed products for us lefties? Things like tin openers, vegetable peelers, and of course smudging pen ink when writing left handed (unless you twist your wrist around so you write from above rather than just straight across). Even poker machines are designed for righties!

Whilst I think of it, I used to have a left handed beer stein. It had small holes all across the top of one side which meant if it was held right handed it would spill down your front and not when held left handed. 😉

One of my memories from starting primary school was on the first day we were all asked to write our names. Each left handed student was grouped to one side, as they thought left handed people were more rowdy or some stupid notion. I am disgusted in myself in that I probably wouldn’t have noticed if it didn’t happen to me. Okay, I was only five at the time, but never the less, it doesn’t change the fact I don’t think I would have noticed if I wasn’t directly involved. It was like the ADHD of it’s time.

Anyone got a left handed story to share?