Experiences of choosing electrical appliances

As part of our drive to create a more inclusive society, RNIB is engaging with a range of consumer electronics companies. We'd like to see more inclusive home appliances becoming widely available, in the same way that we've seen accessible mobile devices becoming mainstream. To help us make the most of the opportunity, we'd like to hear about your experiences of finding out about, choosing and purchasing domestic appliances. We'd like to hear about the good and the bad as well as any tips you might have.

Leave your comments in response to this discussion thread below or contact the Connect team on 0303 1234 555 to comment that way or email them directly on connect@rnib.org.uk.

thanks, i hope you can help

Comments (7)

Wigwag's picture

Reply to Natalie Swiderska - Moderator by Wigwag

Recently I had cause to buy a new washing machine. I visited a large Curry's store where they must have had around 30 machines on display. I needed a washer with a dial and / or button function - I knew I could add bump-ons to a dial, for example. Most machines have an electronic touch display these days and taking into account machine dimensions to fit under a bench, there were only two options - a Bosch or Hotpoint. I did some online research and generally Hotpoints didn't fair well. There's definitely a need to ensure domestic appliances are accessible to us as VI people. The law doesn't require products like domestic appliances to be accessible, so we need to put pressure on / influence manufacturers directly.

CrazyKimmi's picture

Reply to Natalie Swiderska - Moderator by CrazyKimmi

I second the washing machine issue. I too recently needed a new one, did plenty of research online, brand comparisons, program features, which had downloaded manuals etc. Off I popped to Currys....came home with the same model I already had, just slightly newer. Not a brand I wanted to purchase again, but even though I had a fairly decent budget nothing else was useable. What really really irritated me though was the assumption by staff that I could leave my machine on one program and just use that, so wouldn't have to try and use anything else. we are a household with a young child and dog, I wash at a variety of temperatures....why on Earth should I accept second best?!

Natalie - Moderator's picture

Reply to CrazyKimmi by Natalie - Moderator

Thank you both for taking the time to respond. This is very useful feedback. I'll make sure it all gets included and goes to the team working on this.

Natalie - Moderator's picture

Reply to Natalie - Moderator by Natalie - Moderator

We are still encouraging you to leave your feedback about how you currently choose and buy any electrical appliance. Please leave any thoughts, feedback, comments below or call the Connect team.
thanks Natalie

Colin P's picture

Reply to Natalie - Moderator by Colin P

Hi Natalie and all,
We are hearing a lot about deep learning which uses speech in and out, so I feel it is not difficult for manufacturers to include this in all household appliances. Speech could be included cheaply in all appliances and would simply be switched on by the user once only on receipt of the appliance.
More appliances are now being connected to the internet so this could be included as a mainstream addition. Needless to say speech in and out would not require an internet connection but for those who wished this to happen further access would be possible on smart phones or something like Google Home or Amazon Echo.
This is all very possible now and would be simple to use by anyone including those not interested in technology.

Natalie - Moderator's picture

Reply to Colin P by Natalie - Moderator

Thank you Colin P for taking the time to add your thoughts and suggestions. All the very best Natalie

Colin P's picture

Reply to Natalie - Moderator by Colin P

I know computers is a dirty word to some blind and partially sighted folks, but I really do believe things are changing now with the use of voice recognition and high quality speech output. This could be handled directly from the appliance or it could be connected to a smart speaker.
Once this is set up it requires no knowledge of computers to use, no keyboards or virus checkers or any of that clutter ...!
AS a blind person myself I feel we have a golden opportunity here to get manufacturers on board. It will not be difficult for them in the very near future and we and RNIB should be getting in right on the ground floor here to make sure it happens from the very outset.
This will also be great for older people.