How to make appliances more accessible

Hello everyone:
Each month I will be responding to a question; chosen from a pool of some of
the most commonly asked ones that I have been asked over the years and
continue to be asked.
This month, I’d like to answer the following question:
How to make appliances more accessible

We are living in a world of a continuous evolution of technology and gone
are the days when it was so easy to operate an appliance. That is, all we
had to do was to turn a switch, fiddle with some settings and then we were
ready to operate our appliance.

With the advent of more sophisticated appliances that can do so many
different things and perform so many different functions, we need to ensure
that a blind person can still access and operate said appliance as
independently as possibly. So, I have some suggestions for you and
hopefully you will find them useful.

This list is by no means complete but it is a start. Here goes:
1. It is important to remember that when you think of someone who is unable
to see displays on your appliance there are basically two categories: The
person who does not have any vision to see the display and the person who
needs to have the screen’s display enlarged in order to see it.

2. If possible, you may want to consider including some sort of voice driven
application for the person who does not have any vision. The application
should include voices that are easy to hear and distinguish and may also
include the ability to have multiple voices.

3. You may want to include screens with large letters where it is easy to
distinguish backgrounds and foregrounds. That is, that it is easy to
distinguish letters and that contrast is easy for the person who needs help
to see things on your display more easily.

4. That it is easy to identify buttons, knobs, and switches on your
appliances through colors that are easy to see.

5. That buttons, knobs, and switches are easy to find and can be
distinguished from each other by having a layout that enables a person with
no vision to easily find and distinguish them.

6. Whatever you do, your menus should be easy to navigate and understand and
o yes! Don’t forget to provide instructions in large print or on CD.

This should be a good start for now and I hope that it helps.

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