How to Make Household Items Accessible to Those that are Blind or Visually Impaired

Image shows a black microwave. Text on image reads how to make items accessible to those that are blind or visually impaired

Picture this, you are about to heat up your lunch in the microwave but you realize that you are not able to see the buttons. Well this is what a person who is blind or has low vision (is visually impaired) deals with when they use a microwave with a touch screen interface. The lack of tactile feedback makes it impossible to know what button is being pressed. There are many other instances where adaptations must be made to be able to interact with the norms of a sighted world. There are solutions to these problems and it is possible for a person who is blind or visually impaired to be very independent at home and around the community. Today, i want to share some helpful tips to make appliances and other household items accessible to those who are blind or have low vision. I am visually impaired myself and can fully relate to the frustrations that come with dealing with inaccessible items.

How to Make Appliances Accessible

The majority of appliances that are made now from microwaves to washing machines are made with a touch screen interface. I appreciate the technological advances that have been made but the accessibility is far behind. The good thing is that there are practical solutions for this problem that make these appliances fully accessible. Below is a photo of a microwave with bump dots on the buttons.

a black microwave with bump dots on numbers 1, 3 and 0 and the start and stop buttons. The dots are clear

Bump dots come in different sizes and colors including clear dots. These dots resemble buttons and are safe to put on appliances and can be removed with no damage at any time. These dots provide tactile markings to help someone identify buttons on a touch screen interface. Bump dots can be used to mark buttons on a microwave, heat levels on a stove and to mark buttons on a washing machine. I have put bump dots on my microwave putting clear dots to mark the numbers 1,3 and 0 as well as the start and stop buttons. This allows me to use the microwave independently.

How to Make Food Items Accessible

Locating food in the refrigerator or cans in a pantry can become a hard task when you can not see. A lot of things can be identified by touch but when it comes to cans and boxes it becomes more complicated. There are apps available that are able to read text on items to help identify them. Apps such as Supersense which is available for Android and Apple users is very helpful for this task. Those that are not fans of technology can use braille labels or large print labels to label these items.

How to Make Bathroom Items Accessible

Sharing a bathroom with a number of others can become complicated when it comes to storing and possibly sharing items. I live with my family and a tip i can give here is to keep your toothbrush in a different place so you don’t accidentally use someone else’s. When you share shampoo and conditioner it is hard to keep these bottles in the same place as they may be often moved by others. One tip is to put a rubber band on one of the bottles so you know what is what.

Some Extra Thoughts

I hope that these tips can help you be more independent if you are visually impaired or if you know someone who is you can pass these tips along. Here is one extra laundry tip; save yourself the trouble of having to match socks by pinning them together before you wash them, fold your socks together before throwing them in the hamper.

Share how you make your home more accessible in the comments below.

* This post is not sponsored by any of the products mentioned above. All views are my own.