You could call it a more ergonomically-designed $20 bill. Still spends the same and fits in the same wallet, but the look is a little different for a reason. According to U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow, the newly redesigned U.S. $20 bill is meant to deter counterfeiting crime by “making it easier for people to confirm the authenticity of their hard-earned money.”
But the U.S. Treasury isn’t on to something new by using ergonomics to deter crime. According to a report in Ergonomics in Design, crime and security analysts have been working with this concept for the past 30 years. Only recently, however, have ergonomic designs started making attempts to help minimize the opportunity to commit crime.
One of the purposes of ergonomics is to design specifically to fit a certain task, and sometimes that task is as lofty as deterring crime. Designers are tackling this through concepts like designing buildings and living environments with security systems in mind to minimize or eliminate potential blind spots, or by creating purses intended to be worn in very conspicuous and relatively inaccessible locations. Cell phones could eventually be linked to only one charger, thereby rendered useless once the stolen phone, sans base, loses its charge, and even simple dining table chairs can be designed to hold a handbag in a location that might only be reachable by the patron.
Overall, the new $20 bill isn’t alone in its crime-fighting goal. But, in the U.S. government’s quest to reduce the bill’s counterfeit-ability, big-spenders got an added bonus as well. With the addition of colors, slated to be unique to each denomination of the soon-to-be-redesigned bills, it will also be easy to pick out exactly how much cash is either sitting in the wallet or how much just changed hands.
Source: Ergonomics in Design