Well-known brands have the ability to make changes to reduce the ‘disability divide.’ One way this can be done is by making their products/services more accessible.
Microsoft- ‘Accessible By Design’
By using artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies, Microsoft have managed to make more content accessible when using Microsoft 365. This includes:
- A new background accessibility checker will provide a solution to any accessibility issues across the main Office apps.
- Artificial Intelligence in Microsoft Word can detect and convert to heading styles that are more suitable for visually impaired users.
- A new Excel pane has been designed to work with screen readers to help people easily navigate objects in spreadsheet.
- Within Teams, a high contrast mode can be used to access shared content using PowerPoint Live, and a dark mode in Word, which aims to reduce eye strain and account for light sensitivity.
Airbnb- Online Experiences
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Airbnb launched ‘Online Experiences’ which enabled people to virtually travel and connect with Airbnb hosts from around the world. This was followed by many accessible experiences, such as wheelchair workouts and a cooking class with a deaf teacher.
Wild stone- Senses
Wild Stone is a popular brand for men’s grooming products. They launched their first unisex perfume called ‘Sense’ on World Sight Day, as it was created and developed based on the feedback Wild Stone received from visually impaired people.
Guide Beauty- Accessible Makeup
This line of accessible beauty products is designed especially for anyone who has shaky hands. The founder, Terri Bryant, launched the new line after she had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Having first hand experience of the challenges people with this disorder face, Bryant launched four products with built-in, pop-out Guide rings that steady the users’ hand and allows for easy grip.
Lego- Braille Bricks
Braille Bricks are fun and playful Lego building blocks for visually impaired children. They are designed to help children learn the Braille system of reading and writing in an enjoyable way.
Mattel- American Girl of the Year
Mattel launched its first American Girl doll with hearing loss. This new doll has been designed in order for everyone to have an American Girl that they can relate to and encourage girls to learn and grown with confidence.
Google- Accessible Google Maps
Google has made finding wheelchair accessible locations as easy as typing in an address. Users are now able to turn on the ‘Accessible Places’ feature, which informs them of areas that are wheelchair friendly, and also indicates an accessible entrance that they can use, as well as if the place has accessible seating, restrooms or parking.
Apple- Apple Care
Apple have dedicated a team within Apple Support to help people with disabilities and re-designed its accessibility site to make users aware of the new capabilities.
Amazon- Alexa enabling SuperPower Speech
Amazon and speech start-up Voiceitt have collaborated to make Alexa more accessible to people with atypical speech. By using machine-learning and speech recognition technologies, people with speech impairments can be more easily understood.
Tommy Hilfiger- Tommy Adaptive
Tommy Hilfiger unveiled their new range- Tommy Adaptive, which included many pieces with modifications such as bungee cord closures, magnetic buttons and one hand zippers.