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Umbrella Redesign For an Elderly Person

A user centered design method was utilised to create an umbrella that would be small enough to fit in a handbag, but would also be ergonomically suitable for an elderly user with arthritis of the hands. The final design folds into itself an is operated with a simple large button. The runner stops the potential for hands to caught and hurt.

Year: 2014

Duration: 2 months

Skills Shown: Product Design, User Centered Design, Prototyping

The Problems:

A member of my target market was interviewed to analyse what the exact problems are with current collapsible umbrella. The results showed due to arthritic hands and the size of the umbrellas putting them up and down is a hard task which can result in injury. Once up, these umbrellas don’t have a real handle to hold meaning the user to reduced to holding a 10 mm cold stainless steel pole. They also often break in high winds and reverse. Finally when entering a building and putting the umbrella down, there is a slipping hazard where the umbrella drops water all over the floor.


After interviewing members of the target market I produced a number of different alternatives that could solve the problem. These included aids to help them hold regular fold-able umbrellas to a coat that had an umbrella structure built it. After this initial design phase a returned to my user group and asked their opinions.

Prototyping and Testing With User:

A number of different prototyping methods were utilised in the creation of the design, from cardboard and old umbrellas, to clay, to virtual prototypes and finally 3D printed parts. All were tested with the user were possible to find the perfect ergonomics and aesthetics to suit the users tastes.

Technical Details:

At a total manufacturing cost of £4.39 for 100,000 units minus that of transport and storage the RRP should not be too much more then some of the more expensive collapsible umbrellas at around £40.