“In order for us to live in an inclusive society, raising awareness of these issues is key”

OT  visits the RNIB’s pop-up WhatsIn Store and speaks to Marc Powell about the initiative

RNIB confectionery

For two days in August (24–25) the Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB) opened a pop-up corner shop that was designed to highlight the difficultly that blind and partially sighted people have accessing information on packaging.

The initiative was part of the charity’s Design for Everyone campaign.

The shop was filled with products containing vague or no information, and hidden cameras recorded people’s reactions.

Speaking to OT at the shop, strategic accessibility lead at the RNIB, Marc Powell, explained: “We live in a visual world and there are certain things out there that blind and partially sighted people struggle with in terms of design. When we talk about design, the needs of someone who is blind or partially sighted may not have been considered. We take a holistic view on design and highlight that there are small things that you can do to make sure that it’s for everybody; to make sure that everyone’s included.”

“In order for us to live in an inclusive society, raising awareness of these issues is key,” Powell emphasised.

OT talks to the RNIB’s Marc Powell about the importance of accessible packaging for blind and partially sighted people

The response to the pop-up shop, which brought to life the struggles that people who are blind and partially sighted can face, “has been absolutely amazing,” Powell told OT, describing the shop as “a really cool way of trying to demonstrate some of those issues and struggles that we have.”

“We can talk about sight loss and some of the stats around it, but by doing things like this people begin to feel something and start to understand how it must feel and the frustration involved in simply not being able to access packaging information,” Powell added.

The RNIB has been working with Kellogg’s over the last 12 months to help ensure its packaging is accessible. “That work has really showcased the idea of how to bring accessibility to packaging and create this design for everyone approach,” Powell said.