Inclusive design: easy-to-use washing machines – the top 10

1 July 2019
Source: Research Institute for Disabled Consumers

RiDC logo
RiDC logo
Thomas Pocklington Trust Logo
Thomas Pocklington Trust Logo

New, practical information on inclusive design for blind and partially sighted people is revealed in unique analysis from the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RiDC)1 of features which make washing machines easy to use.

The research highlights the seven top features which make washing machines accessible for people with little or no vision. These include simplicity of use, audio output, tactile information, and good visual contrast on the controls. In addition, RiDC has identified the top ten washing machines which are the easiest for blind and partially sighted people to use.

These findings will help inform designers and others who want to ensure that products are accessible to the widest possible number of people, as well as those with a focus on inclusive design.

With funding from Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT)2, RiDC ran a workshop with visually-impaired people to find what their ideal washer would be. Researchers also spoke to washing machine manufacturers.

After analysing data for more than 80 models which consumer tests show are the best performing, RiDC researchers shortlisted the top ten most accessible washing machines on the market.

This unique practical information3 will be of great use to many people thinking of getting a washing machine and to those shopping online and in stores.

It is available online and, on request4, in Braille. It is also available over the phone as an audio recording for the cost of phoning a landline. Dial 0330 223 53 55 and follow the instructions5.

RiDC and TPT hope that, with the increasing use of smart technology in our everyday lives, designers will continue to provide good visual and tactile features ensuring that future washing machines are simple and easy to use.

“This really is a cracking bit of work you’ve done. I’ve read the product reviews for some of the washing machines, and the information you’ve included is just the sort of information we, as blind people, need in order to make informed choices when buying equipment like this.” (UK blind tech user).

There’s no spin on this washing machine information. RiDC is an independent, national research charity. It doesn’t sell products. You can find all this unbiased information on the RiDC website along with more information about consumer research with disabled and older people at http://www.ridc.org.uk

For more information please contact:
Chris Lofthouse, RiDC: 020 7427 2460 chrislofthouse@ridc.org.uk

Ends

Editor’s notes:

  1. RiDC is a national charity, a leading expert in person-centred research involving disabled and older consumers. http://www.ridc.org.uk It has a UK-wide consumer research panel of nearly 1,000 disabled and older people who assist us by taking part in surveys or interviews or by trying out products and services. People can join the panel at http://bit.ly/RiDCjoinhere.
  2. Thomas Pocklington Trust is a national charity for people with sight loss.  Its research programme commissions and funds social and public health research initiatives to identify ways to improve the lives of people with sight loss.  http://www.pocklington-trust.org.uk
  3. Accessible washing machine information is often listed under the description ‘convenience’. In addition, CHOICE, the leading consumer advocacy group in Australia, has a guide to choosing an accessible washing machine for people with disabilities, vision impairment or cognitive impairment.
  4. Thomas Pocklington Trust can provide Braille information on request. Phone 0208 9950 880.
  5. The washing machine information is available as an audio recording over the phone. Ring the new RiDC InfoLine, which costs the usual landline phone rate, on 0330 223 53 55. The RiDC Infoline:
  • Costs the usual landline phone rate. Many phone packages include 03 numbers
  • let’s you move through the audio by using your phone keypad
  • allows you to easily leave a phone message to give your views

 

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