Ease of Use Commendation
Products proven to make life easier for people who have arthritis and other physical limitations. Read on to learn more about the extensive testing these products go through as well as tips for selecting easy-to-use products.
The Arthritis Foundation's Ease of Use Commendation Program recognizes products proven to make life easier for people who have arthritis and other physical limitations. Independently tested by experts and evaluated by people with arthritis, Ease of Use products are easy to use for everyone.
Ease of Use Product Testing
The Arthritis Foundation created the Ease of Use (EOU) Commendation Program to encourage manufacturers to design user-friendly products and packaging that could be recommended to the millions of people living with arthritis. Currently, many types of products participate in the program, such as health and wellness, home and hobbies and work products. The EOU Program tests products in a laboratory operated by the Intuitive Design Applied Research Institute (IDARI). IDARI, founded by Dr. Brad Fain, is focused on evaluating human performance and the ability of all users to successfully use consumer products ranging from medical devices to packaging. IDARI helps companies design consumer products that are easy to use for people with functional limitations such as those with arthritis.
How Are Products Tested?
The process begins with the manufacturer, who submits a product to the Arthritis Foundation seeking expert evaluation of its product. At IDARI, scientists experienced in the design and evaluation of products conduct tests to find out if it is easy to use for someone with arthritis. The answer results from a three-step testing process:
- Test Pass/Fail Requirements: Each product is evaluated by a team of scientists, who test the product against a number of “pass” or “fail” requirements specific to the type of product under evaluation. For example, how easy it is to open a medicine bottle or to operate a stationary bike?
- Assess Tasks: Then the scientists assess and establish user tasks based on every manner in which someone with arthritis might use the product, from the point at which the product is removed from the packaging – yes, the package itself is evaluated – through multiple uses.
- User Testing: Finally, a team of eight research participants who have moderate-to-severe arthritis are evaluated for grip, torque and muscle strength, endurance, pinch force and range of motion. The participants then get to open and use the product, and then each participant’s performance is evaluated.
How Do Products Earn the Ease-of-Use Seal?
To garner a “favorable” grade from IDARI and become eligible for the Arthritis Foundation’s Ease of Use Commendation, a product must meet the following criteria:
- A “pass” rating on all the checklist evaluation items,
- At least five of the eight participants must be able to use it with little or no difficulty,
- No more than one of eight participants should experience great difficulty using the product.
We try to be as objective as possible. I rarely ask if a tester likes the product or not, because that’s not the issue. I want to know if it is easy to use. What might be a mild annoyance to someone without a disability can be an absolute barrier to someone with arthritis.Dr. Fain, founder at IDARI
Tips for Selecting Easy to Use Products
The Arthritis Foundation's Ease of Use Commendation logo identifies tested and trusted products. Check out our product selection guide that provides easy-to-remember tips when selecting products that could make living with arthritis a little less difficult.
Product Selection Guide
1. Be Selective
Think about the tasks that are difficult for you on a regular basis and interfere with your independence. Look for products that can make these day-to-day tasks easier.
2. Opt for products with texture.
For example, when selecting glassware, drinking glasses with bumpy exteriors are easier to grasp than glasses with smooth exteriors.
3. Seek products that require minimal upkeep.
Extra cleaning and care time needed for a product may put unnecessary strain on your joints.
4. Select products that are safe to use.
When choosing a product to use it should not just be simple but also keep you, and your joints, safe.
5. Purchase lightweight products, especially when it comes to cleaning and kitchen tools.
For example, heavy cast-iron pots or ceramic bowls may be difficult to use for someone with arthritis.
6. Look for products that are easy to open and close.
Avoid products that are difficult to grasp or require twisting with your fingers to open and close. Instead, look for features such as flip-top caps, zippers and larger, easy-to-open lids.
7. Choose items that are comfortable to wear, carry or operate.
Wear loose clothing and clothes that are easy to put on and take off.
8. Avoid the bells and whistles.
Look for products that are simple and practical, rather than fancy gadgets with intricate pieces.
9. Find products that are not cumbersome to use.
Products that can be carried close to your body may alleviate pressure on arms, hands and back.
10. Look for the Arthritis Foundation's Ease of Use of Commendation logo.
This way, you know it’s a tested and trusted product.
Ease of Use Products
Arthritis Foundation's Ease of Use Commendation
Products proven to make life easier for people who have arthritis and other physical limitations.Learn More
Interested in the Arthritis Foundation testing your product?
To get started, complete our registration form, which offers your product an opportunity to describe its capabilities and value to the arthritis community. Products whose offerings meet our needs may be considered for expert evaluation and testing.