Packaging Hacks to Aid the Visually Impaired
Retail packaging has visual appeal in mind. Colour, imagery and fonts are carefully selected and positioned to attract attention. Detailed information and icons are printed in small text to ensure they don’t distract from the main design.
With purchasing decisions so dependent on what we see, shopping must be a challenge for those with a visual impairment. Are there small changes that can be made to packaging design to improve inclusivity?
Many people with visual impairment do have some level of vision. Using non-capitalised, clear font with a strong contrast between the letters and background can significantly increase readability. Consider what information is of greatest importance and display it clearly. What the product is, along with expiry dates, colour, flavour and size are a few options.
Another option for printed packaging is the use of QR codes. With the correct setup, these can be scanned by customers and an audio message read by their device. This is a great option for providing detailed information, including lists of ingredients.
EU Regulations determine that pharmaceutical packaging and bleach must be printed with braille. When Aylesbury Box Company manufactures boxes for medicines, tablets and creams, we emboss braille dots. This process is undertaken as part of the cartonboard manufacturing process. These do not distract from the visual appearance of the packaging. They do help to provide information in a format that is readable to some customers who are visually impaired.
Although is it not a regulatory requirement, embossed braille could be added to every item of packaging. Nutritional information on food products and washing instructions on cloth label are just two options which could be helpful.
It has to be noted that many people with a visual impairment cannot read braille. Embossed symbols, such as the recycling, FSC or Fairtrade icons could be a simple step towards helping everyone make informed choices.
Printed Tactile Labels
Tactile labels offer the option for retro-fitting information onto existing packaging. A range of textures can be printed onto stickers and cardboard labels, which can be attached to products. QR Codes can also be printed into labels and stickers.
Easy to Open Packaging
Sometimes, the issue is with the packaging design rather than the print. We have all experienced the frustration when a box, bottle or container is difficult to open. Imagine opening that packaging with a blindfold on.
When Microsoft developed the Xbox Adaptive Controller, inclusivity and accessibility were a priority. Their design team worked with a focus group of 100 gamers to develop the product and the packaging. Ease of opening, and use, result in no customer experience being limited due to poor design.
Tear strips, tabs and perforations are solutions that make it easier for all customers to open the packaging. The visually impaired can be directed to these access points by adding bold print or a textured surface.
Back in 2009, the RNIB gathered feedback on the shopping experiences of those with a range of visual impairments. One of the findings was that 95% had difficulty reading labels. The results informed guidelines for retailers on improving the shopping experience. The information is still relevant a decade on and there is plenty of room for improvement.
With an ageing population, conditions affecting sight are a growing issue. It is time for packaging design to go beyond visual impact. With a few improvements, you could attract and aid many more shoppers.
Aylesbury Box Company manufactures, prints and finishes bespoke retail packaging. We want to encourage more brands to consider tactile solutions and QR codes to improve customer experiences. Share your ideas and we’ll be happy to advise, send samples and provide a quote.
Call our team on 01296 436888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.