Handles are super important, though I feel like we take them for granted. Get it? Feel…? Above are two different handles I found this morning which you can find here (images also from there). I chose to write about these for one main reason. I think the idea of an object telling you how to use it via its actual form is overlooked a lot, especially in mass production. When you think about it, we spend a lot of resources on creating manuals, and not just paper. It cost money, and lots of time.
Something like a handle is so vitally important because this is where most of the physical interaction between the user and object will take place. Imagine if the handle was super uncomfortable, you wouldn’t want to use the thing. But if it feels good it could actually make you want to use it. If you add the extra bonus of the handle actually signing to you how to use the object then you get an experience that you may actually recognize. Indents in a grip can tell the person, “grab me here”. A change in material would say, “this is where I need more durability here because I get scraped a lot, don’t grab me here.”
When it comes down to it, the form of an object could be symbolic of how to use it and I think it should be. Indicating proper form and use of the object while providing a comfortable grip is actually a pretty easy task. Could be that this takes a little more time and money than writing a manual. But I think when thought out carefully like the handles in the picture, the object is being more than just used. It is being experienced by the user.