A-see-stance: Designing an accessible shopping experience

Partner Programme

16 — 24 Sept 2023

Graphic Design & Visual Communications, Multi-Disciplinary Design

Creating inclusive shopping spaces: Re-designing information for diverse backgrounds, abilities and ages, by fostering accessibility and equality.

In today's world, retail information heavily relies on visual communication, forming the foundation of consumer interaction. However, this approach inadvertently excludes a considerable percentage of the population facing visual difficulties. According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People, there are over 2 million people in the UK living with sight loss. These people meet the international definition of vision impairment and include everyone whose vision is worse than 6/12 Snellen – that is halfway down the optician’s letter chart. A-see-stance, is a system intervention that introduces design solutions around the vital shopping key aspects: feeling engaged and present in the marketplace (I am here); seeking uniqueness and personal identity through shopping (I am me); demonstrating confidence and authority in making purchasing decisions (I am in control); and striving to be recognized as an equal participant in the retail world (I belong). This design project is centred around an innovative experimental one-way tactile navigation system, utilizing distinct shapes to introduce a palpable navigation language for users to feel while walking. Exposure to information becomes quantifiable in each section, ensuring a guided and secure journey for every customer, even during their initial visit. Moreover, this approach minimizes the likelihood of customers overlooking essential items, enhancing their overall shopping experience, and streamlining the process of finding necessary products. A-see-stance extends beyond mere navigation hurdles; it encompasses the identification of crucial information within conventional printed packaging methods. Fueling the drive for positive impact, by leveraging the clear space within existing packaging, a-see-stance introduces a tactile add-on label, featuring a language system that adheres to both Food and Drugs Administration guidelines and the UK's food labelling regulations “translating” essential details as the product name, type, expiration date and allergens. Incorporating a single material into the current packaging offers an eco-conscious approach to achieving an accessible retail intervention that is sustainable. In this remarkable and innovative era, we find ourselves immersed in a world of endless possibilities. We have the opportunity to embrace it as a canvas for contemplation, reflection, and meaningful transformation to make a positive impact and shape a better future.