8 times Standards shaped our world

September 2, 2016

Over the centuries humans have created life-changing inventions that have not only become significant assets by themselves, but have gone on to inspire other creations that many of us use every day. The standards on these ensure uniformity; this means that we can understand how to use a variety of models after learning how to only use one, making each job a little easier.

1- Measurements

Measurements have literally been around forever, and we couldn’t imagine functioning without them. Whether it’s atmospheric pressure, or the length of our arm, it would be impossible to convey what we meant without some form of measurement scale. Standards in measurement have ensured that we can understand the scale that another person is using.

2- Screws

They may be small, but screws have become pivotal to our lives. The mechanical advantage of using one has helped us to fix materials, attach one thing to another and create pulleys. The strength and size has meant that they are currently the most commonly used device in engineering and production.

3- Light Bulbs

Perhaps we wouldn’t be living in complete darkness without the lightbulb, but it has certainly been an extraordinary invention. It was only after its creation that we started to have electricity sent to our homes, creating a network and industry large enough for other inventions to be developed. With our surroundings illuminated, our lifestyles changed as we began to spend longer hours awake completing activities such as reading, increasing higher education enrolment levels around the world.

A picture of lots of light bulbs

4 – Shipping Containers

It used to be that when you were shipping something from one country to another, each box, barrel, or bucket would need to be individually loaded and unloaded. Can you imagine how much time that must take when you’re sending large orders? Freight companies eventually overcame this by developing Intermodular Containers which could be easily moved from rail, to boat or vice versa. This standardisation allowed them to make the most of the space that they had.

5 – HTML

HTML: the programming language that allows us to write this blog post. HTML provides a standard format for webpages, and lets us upload text, photos and links. Through this, we have been able to share information with people all around the world, enabling us to gain knowledge and understand other cultures. It has completely transformed the way we think.

6 – W3C accessibility

W3C accessibility has meant that the barriers between internet users have been cleared. It is crucial that everyone is able to have access to the wealth of information stored on the Internet, including people with disabilities. The web is designed to help everyone and W3C accessibility ensures that that is the case by increasing flexibility for all.

7 – USB

USB devices are used to share documents across computers. Imagine if on every laptop, or desktop, the creator installed a different socket and device to be used to exchange data. Through standard USB devices, our data has been kept safe and secure, and small enough to take anywhere.

8 – Food Standards

Hardly a week goes by without a news story on concerns with food safety in a supermarket chain, or a scandalous incident in a restaurant. Standards have ensured that these have been reduced to the minimum, keeping everyone safe in the kitchen and out of it.

A picture with lots of vegetables separated into crates


Our team combines the digital product and user centred design expertise of ustwo, with the Royal London Society for Blind People’s 175 years of experience working with blind people.