Braille watch packaging concept designed to empower the visually impaired and create a brand identity that is insightful, yet functional.
Class Project 2017 | Packaging Design
When solving a problem, it is important to design for the diverse set of users who will interact with a product. For the past few years developers and designers have been working on removing accessibility barriers from the Web in order to to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with diverse abilities. What if accessibility is applied to an everyday physical object? Visually impaired people often require assistance when making routine purchases. Small changes can usually make a big difference for them and contribute to a more pleasant and efficient user experience.
Blind People and The Sense of Touch
Blind people build pictures using their sense of touch, and by listening to the echoes of clicks and taps of their cane as these sounds bounce off objects in their surroundings, a technique called echolocation. Using touch, they get a sense of space. Vision has the advantage that shapes can be seen at a distance, but touch has the advantage that during exploration many additional object properties become available, such as temperature, texture, and weight. Typical exploratory movements to determine shape by touch are “enclosure” for global shape and size, and “contour following” for exact shape.
Humans can distinguish textures whose elements differ in size by tens of nanometers or whose spatial periods differ by hundreds of nanometers. When we run our fingers across a surface, we may perceive the surface as being rough, like sandpaper, or smooth, like glass; the surface may also vary along other sensory continua, such as hardness vs. softness , stickiness vs. slipperiness.
Aeron, who is visually impaired, works for the American Foundation of the Blind. He spent a few minutes over email to answer some questions and give more information about the way he perceives his environment.
Seams and edges are a good guide to opening a package
If one part of the package is heavier and weight does not shift, it should be open from the lighter side
Textures are not especially useful to help open a box properly
Products for visually impaired people are usually purchased online, where information about them is available
Expertise assistance is used when making a purchase
Packages that require folding or cutting are particularly frustrating
This brand brings Braille and English Alphabet letters together. The lettering is simply an improvised line that connects the Braille dots and shows the connection between the two alphabet. The lettering allows people who see to identify the brand, while embossed Braille dots helps the visually impaired read the same information.
The way the packaging feels is more important than the way it looks. Therefore, the design of small parts received a lot of attention. Planning and sketching was involved in determining how the watch box would feel when held by the user.
Embossing and Prototyping
The package prototype had to feel real. An essential part of the design was the tactile Braille writing. A cut out cardboard, some light, and a dotted stylus helped emboss the paper and make all the little dots tactile.
The NFC chips. which have recently become very popular with Apple and Samsung pay, are a great new technology that helps visually impaired people pay for items without having to deal with physical money. Beyond that it could be used to have things automatically read to them just by swiping their phone past it instead of having someone else read it or instead of them having to find where the braille is placed if it is there at all.
The NFC chip is cheap and can be programmed to access specific web information and narrate the needed information. I want to use it to make all of the information about the Braille Watch accessible through the touch of a phone.