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Skip to 0 minutes and 2 secondsSPEAKER 1: Accessible design for everyday living - looking inside our homes.

Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsIn the home, what devices are difficult to use, or in some cases, completely inaccessible? Do you remember in the first week of the course what was said by Neil? He talked about his perception, as a blind person, of washing machine controls. Let's take a look at some domestic appliances. What do you notice? First, a washing machine.

Skip to 0 minutes and 37 secondsNext, a cooker.

Skip to 0 minutes and 42 secondsAnd finally, a microwave oven. All these devices tend to have small screen displays for feedback. This means that to programme the appliance it is necessary to check what is displayed. Obviously, this is impossible for people who have no or very little vision. Yet blind people like Maria are mothers and housewives and everyone needs to eat and keep themselves looking presentable with clean clothes.

Skip to 1 minute and 12 secondsThey are also difficult for other reasons. Tall people may not be able to see the display comfortably. People who are shorter than average or sitting in a wheelchair may not be able to see the display because of the angle they are viewing from. Nor are all problems to do with the display. Another issue is that of function overload. Most home appliances these days are extremely feature rich, which may be desirable for marketing purposes but doesn't help with the usability or accessibility. Even simple appliances like toasters may have many settings.

Skip to 1 minute and 52 secondsSPEAKER 2: As an older person, I need my reading glasses and good light. But I also need to remember what I should be doing.

Skip to 2 minutes and 7 secondsSPEAKER 1: Already we can see that there are some lessons to be learned. For example, don't rely only on a small screen display for outputs but have other sources of feedback such as audio or at the very least ear cons such as beeps and buzzes. Do the controls have to be located on the appliance? Maybe they can be accessed straight from your favourite mobile device. That way it can be held at a height that is comfortable for the individual and with an adjustable size and visibility of the interface controls to suit them.

Skip to 2 minutes and 39 secondsThe display could also work like a screen reader reading aloud what is on the screen. Also, other types of input could be used instead of touch, such as talking to the device with voice recognition software. As you can understand, these are all accessibility features that you have learned about in previous weeks. There you saw them in other settings such as in your computer or mobile devices. So why not apply them to household appliances as well?

Accessible design for everyday living: looking inside our homes

In this video we consider devices, such as washing machines, cookers and microwave ovens and how there could be alternatives to the way we could access their controls.

People who are blind or visually impaired like Maria or who have lost confidence like Monika face challenges on a daily basis and would benefit by being offered easier access to their devices in the home.

Have a look around your home. Count the number of electronic appliances you have and let us know the percentage you feel have complex and inaccessible controls and tell us what they are. How many of those controls do you actually use?


© This video is created by The University of the Aegean and licensed under CC-BY BY 4.0 International Licence. Erasmus + MOOCs for Accessibility Partnership.

© This text is a derivative of a work created by The University of the Aegean, and licensed under CC-BY BY 4.0 International Licence adapted and used by the University of Southampton. Erasmus + MOOCs for Accessibility Partnership.

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This video is from the free online course:

Digital Accessibility: Enabling Participation in the Information Society

University of Southampton