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.

The dominoes tin case open showing the contents. The dominoes use raised dots to impart their values.
The dominoes, you can clearly see their raised values.

The packaging

The metal case containing the dominoes. The case is off white with light blue copy.
The dominoes' metal tin.


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.

cream and light blue colour swatches.
I've converted the colour values from the photos to this cream and blue swatch. It's not 100% accurate, but it's enough to test.

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.