Dominoes for the blind
I like to collect products aimed at audiences with impairments. I find they help my genius design skills and strengthen my empathy for their audience.
A few weeks ago I was checking out the Brighton Flea Market in Kemp Town. It's the kind of place you'd expect to find a Mogwai.
Tucked away upstairs was a set of 'Dominoes for the Blind'. It’s contents: a set of tactile dominoes. Their value marked with raised dots and a single breaker.
Created and supplied by The Royal National Institute for the Blind, the 60s/70s style packaging clearly displays the label 'Dominoes For The Blind' in blue on white.
Using Jonathon Snook's colour contrast checker, I discovered the casing would have a 3.2 contrast ratio in a digital context.
This would fail WCAG AA rating for copy below 18pt (body copy), and as bold type, only just makes the WCAG AA grade.
Considering the audience, I find it quite remarkable that braille is used nowhere on the container. Obviously, context was lacking when the packaging was designed.
Listening to the dominoes
The dominoes show that a simple addition can increase a product's reach. Accessibility is about getting your message out to the largest audience.
Not considering the context, like the packaging, or in our case, a website, can easily diminish your message’s potential.
ARIA roles, semantic markup, image alt text, video transcripts etc, can all increase the reach of your communications.