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For November 2013:

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.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your freelance writer and roving reporter wishing you a terrific day.

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