21 Mar 2024

Widening digital design

New design guidelines have been created aimed at making digital products more accessible to blind and visually impaired people. Beyond Visual Design comprises 31 principles to ensure products are more inclusive. The strategy was tested by applying the guidelines to three digital home appliances: a hob, coffee machine and oven.

The HapticStove induction cooker employs smart controls and haptic feedback to let users know where pans are and when the hob is still hot. Auditory and tactile cues were included in the design of the Multisense Coffee machine, with the different types of coffee pods distinguished by their shape and feel. And the Adaptive Oven uses a voice assistant and haptic controls to help blind and visually impaired users choose correct settings.

The project, created by Felix Cordes and Jeremias Lande from the Schwäbisch Gmünd University of Design in Germany, has been recognised with a UX Design Award from the International Design Center Berlin.

The judges said: “Beyond Visual Design demonstrates an innovative approach to improving usability for all, with a focus on supporting the visually impaired. While more user testing is needed to realise the full potential of the project, the achievement is remarkable and the commitment to pioneering inclusive design deserves praise. The project’s proactive stance will inspire UX designers to explore more innovative and inclusive designs, underscoring its significant impact on the field.”

Find out more about the project

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