Good News From the Big Box Store: Accessibility Features for Laundry and Kitchen Appliances ImproveBy Hodges, Bradley; Access World, Vol. 12, No. 1
Publication Date: January 2011
Product review evaluates the accessibility to blind users of major brand laundry and kitchen appliances and offers advice on getting product information and hands on demonstrations of these appliances at large outlets referred to as “big box stores.” Products from the following manufacturers are discussed: (1) Whirlpool, whose Duet washers and dryers have accessible features including uniquely shaped start buttons, physical controls with musical tones signaling cycle options, as well as easy-to-feel pointers for making cycle selections; whose dishwashers use tactile, bubble-like controls; and whose ranges and wall ovens have much-textured touch pads at the locations of the controls; (2) Sears Kenmore, whose accessibility advances were deemed more modest, their laundry equipment being decidedly inaccessible while the accessibility of its dishwashers varies dramatically depending on door design; however, refrigerators feature easy to feel buttons for temperature regulation that beep for each setting change; (3) Frigidaire, which offers a distinct groove molded into the outer surface of the circular control of its laundry equipment and a physical pointer location for each cycle on the face of the appliance; and (4) KitchenAid and Bosch, which both were found to have retained tactile characteristics on the controls of their appliances. The reviewer advises customers with visual impairments shopping for appliances at warehouse like retail outlets to identify and rely on a knowledgeable sales professional, obtain product accessibility information online when available, and ensure that the store or online retailer has a 100 percent money back policy.
Assistive Products Discussed: BOSCH VISION 500 SERIES WASHER
BOSCH VISION 500 SERIES DRYER
Published by: AFB Press (Website:http://www.afb.org/Section.asp?SectionID=46)
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) (Web Site: http://www.afb.org )
Link to text: http://afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw120104