For consumers with a disability, the packaging of everyday products can pose many problems. From difficult to read labels to boxes that are near impossible to open for people with a reduced grip, there’s still a lot to be done to make packaging accessible for everybody. However, some companies are coming up with inventive ideas to make packaging more accessible for both disabled and able-bodied people.
Microsoft has launched a range of boxes for their newly released adaptive Xbox controller. Tested by disabled gamers, the packaging has some great accessible features which makes getting into the product much easier. From loops to make it easy to open the box one-handed and excluding plastic wrapping and twist ties, the easy-open boxes focus on giving the user options on what works best for them.
Ideal for those who are visually impaired, the Mimica Touch project uses a biodegradable gel and user touch for accessibility. The gel is used to print the expiry date of the food on its packaging. When the food is safe to eat the gel feels smooth to the touch but when the food has passed its expiry date, the gel feels bumpy. Currently in development, it aims to allow visually impaired people to become more confident when buying fresh food.
Not only are high contrast graphics useful for the visually impaired, they’re also eye-catching and easy to understand. The Vision 20/20 range of packaging has been developed by a design studio and uses the high contrast colours, black and yellow together. Simple graphics and pictures make it easy to spot on a shelf or in a dark cupboard. The text on the front of the product is easy to read in a large, clear font. What’s more, the design team behind the project is looking to the future and considering linking the graphics to screen-reading technology to allow the labels to be read aloud.
The Future of Packaging
With these innovative packaging designs leading the way, the future looks positive for a more accessible life. Companies are now investing a lot more in research and the key seems to be enlisting a more diverse range of testers of new products. And why shouldn’t they? According to designer, Solveiga Pakstaite, having accessibility the focus when designing new products is a win/win situation.
He explains: “If you make life easier for those with a disability, it makes it easier everyone.”