Hand touching tactile stickers on GE washer
Accessibility & Technology

GE Appliances Improves Access for Visually Impaired Consumers

Mar 20, 2024

GE Appliances Improves Access for Visually Impaired Consumers

For quite some time now, people with vision loss have gained increasing audible access to digital displays and touch screens on electronic devices.  Such advances in accessibility have not yet materialized in most major and household appliances. Meanwhile, we figure out what we need from the appliance and how to get the job done. Depending on the appliance and personal preference, the solution may be simple or complex.  The best approach often comes down to focusing on frequently used functions. Cooking, on a stove top or in the oven, generally requires familiarity with a few temperature settings. Similar strategies are implemented for the use of washer, dryer and dishwasher,  Food gets cooked, laundry and dishes get washed, often on the same settings, day after day.   

In lieu of innovation, GE Appliances is offering a DIY kit as a workaround. The Access Kit was created in partnership with the American Printing House for the Blind (APH). In a press release, dated Feb. 27, 2024, the appliance maker described the kit as the “most comprehensive set of tactile stickers for appliances.”  With over 400 stickers, representing the 80 most commonly used settings, the kit is designed to “make thousands of GE Appliances more accessible for everyone,” and it can be used on non-GE appliances, as well. The clear adhesive stickers are placed over the appliance label, allowing the label to show through. They include both tactile symbols and braille. The announcement noted, “While braille is the standard, fewer than 10 percent of the 1.3 million people who are legally blind in the United States are braille readers.”

GE washer controls with transparent tactile stickers

“Our number one goal with this offering is to make appliances more accessible for everyone,” said Chris Bissig, director of experience brand language at GE Appliances. “Our research showed that a lot of blind and low-vision consumers are devising their own complex systems just to navigate the settings on their appliances, making simple household tasks incredibly difficult. This kit ensures everyone can feel confident using their GE Appliances. We are so grateful to our partners at American Printing House for the Blind, a true authority in this space, for helping us bring this product to life and make everyday living easier for those who are blind or low vision.”

The GE Access Kit can be purchased for $19.99 at https://www.geapplianceparts.com/store/parts/spec/WX01X48726.

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About the Author: Dorrie Rush

Dorrie Rush is the Chief Content Officer and Visual Accessibility Expert at Ophthalmic Edge Patients (OE Patients), an online resource, presented by the Association for Macular Diseases, providing practical information and empowering advice for living a full and successful life with vision loss.

She is the former Director of the Grunwald Technology Center and Information Resource Service at Lighthouse International 2001 to 2016. Dorrie is known to have an eccentric view, which is particularly useful in compensating for her central vision loss from Stargardt Disease.



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