How you can make packaging more accessible: TechShare Pro 2021

During our first day of TechShare Pro 2021, we spoke with leading brands seeking to make packaging accessible to all - and the tech innovators making accessible packaging a reality. 

The line-up for the session included:

  • Javier Pita, CEO, NaviLens
  • Sumaira Latif, Company Accessibility Lead, P&G
  • Marc Powell, Strategic Accessibility Lead, RNIB
  • Alison Last, UK and Ireland Corporate Communications Lead at Kellogg Company
  • Jim Downham, President and CEO, PAC Global
  • Gavin Greenhalf, Creative Director, Aire Global

Making design accessible for everyone

Leaders from global brands including P&G and the Kellogg Company shared the steps they were taking to make their products more inclusive and accessible. One of these steps was including the groundbreaking technology NaviLens on Kellogg and P&G packaging. 

What is NaviLens and how is it different to a QR code?

NaviLens is similar to a QR code except the user doesn't need to know precisely where the code is placed - you just scan with your mobile and the information is contextualised. 

Other key benefits include:

  • Capable of reading NaviLens 12 times farther than a QR code
  • Is able to filter certain ingredients and nutritional information
  • Reads in all light conditions
  • No need for focussing 

Set of three Kellogg's cereal packaging featuring the NaviLens technology

Kellogg Company trialled the NaviLens technology on Coco Pops boxes which was a great success so now the technology is due to be rolled out across all Kellogg's cereal packaging in Europe for 2022. 

Alison Last, Corporate Communications Lead at Kellogg Company commented, "What does success look like to me? Success looks like all products in the supermarket to have NaviLens technology, improving the experience for the shopper through NaviLens."

Here are 5 more reasons to embrace inclusive design.

Jim Downham from PAC Global
“I’ve never seen anything like this, this is a breakthrough moment for packaging and technology”
Jim Downham from PAC Global

Sam Latif, Accessibility Lead at P&G commented, “It’s such a big opportunity to make these products accessible to people with disabilities. Everybody has the right to access products and packaging accessibly.

We want to invent a system where people can identify through touch. What Navilens is doing is through the digital aspect. Walking down your aisle with your smartphone your phone will tell you what products are on the shelf, you don’t need to go to a website - the information is right there."

TechShare Pro session with Sumaira Latif, Parc Powell, Javier Pita and Gavin Greenhalf

P&G is upping its game for accessible packaging with a bunch of new releases and launches this year. Pantene recently announced its partnership with Lucy Edwards, the disability activist and influencer, to highlight the introduction of NaviLens to its products which are rolling out next year.

Another step for inclusive packaging saw P&G brand Olay introduce accessible features on its most popular product's packaging. Features include an easy-open wing design lid, Braille text, and a high-contrast label.

Olay packaging with braille on top of lid and easy opening function for lid

Check out our accessible design tips taken from an AbilityNet webinar with MoneySupermarket and Sony Europe.

The demand for more inclusive packaging

Gavin Greenhalf from Aire Global commented, "Olay at the moment has the easy opening lid along with coding on the top which makes it easy to open. These types of solutions also benefit ably sighted or physically-abled persons.

Things like structure and opening mechanisms have generally been quite expensive approaches, but now these innovations are becoming more mainstream as bigger brands are using them."

Gavin Greenhalf from Aire Global
"800 million people are colour blind, 450 million have low written ability, 36 million are legally blind, and physical disabilities make up 15% of the global population." 
Gavin Greenhalf from Aire Global

Design for everyone

With 9 in 10 people with sight loss finding information on packaging difficult or impossible to read (source), it's clear that more brands need to implement accessible design into their packaging from the get-go.

RNIB's 'Design for Everyone' campaign brings to life the issues blind and partially sighted people face by just doing the weekly shop. In the stunt, a shop was stocked with deliberately inaccessible packaging, including items with no text on them whatsoever, where a hidden camera filmed visitors reactions. 

The 'Design for Everyone' campaign highlights further how innovations like the NaviLens technology partnered with smart packaging design can really help break accessibility barriers in everyday tasks that most people take for granted. 

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