Herbal Essences introduces tactile packaging

Herbal-essences-nature-inspiredP&G hair care brand Herbal Essences is adapting its shampoo and conditioner to make them more accessible for people with little or no vision.

The enhanced packaging features tactile indentations to help people differentiate between shampoos and conditioners by touch given the same bottle shape can cause confusion.

Herbal Essences hopes that the new packaging will make it easier for people with vision impairments to perform daily tasks such as shopping and showering.

P&G’s special consultant for inclusive design, Sumaira “Sam” Latif, is the lady behind the initiative. She has been with the company for over 18 years and is blind herself. Latif worked with other individuals who are vision impaired to hone the product.

“Imagine the daily challenges, like choosing matching clothes in the morning or simply taking a shower after a long day. As a blind person, you must do these things using touch rather than sight. You don’t really know which bottle the shampoo, conditioner, or soap is…you have to get creative. I used to put an elastic band around shampoo or sellotape on conditioner to remind me,” Latif said. “It was important that we invent a feature, universally recognizable tactile feature, which would work for people who haven’t had the opportunity to learn braille. ”

While the solution might sound simple, Herbal Essences produces hundreds of bottles a minute, so changing a manufacturing process can be complicated when dealing with those numbers. Despite the technical hurdles, the collective passion for the initiative pushed it through. Herbal Essences North America brand manager, Lynn Hicks, explained that there was a solid business case behind this decision.

“Making our products more accessible can improve the experience for everyone. We want to be sure everyone can experience the positive power of nature through Herbal Essences every day. While we designed this tactile feature specifically for the visually impaired, others, like seniors or kids, will also benefit from this feature,” Hicks said.

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There are approximately 253 million people worldwide who face challenges associated with vision impairment. Mark Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind hopes that other companies will follow suit to make more products accessible for everyone.

“This new tactile feature enhances our independence and shows that the brand wants to truly serve all consumers. We hope other manufacturers will take note of this effort and work with blind people to find solutions that allow us to identify their products quickly and independently,” Riccobono said.

The shampoo bottles feature four raised vertical lines on the bottom of the back label and the conditioner has two rows of raised dots. The features were purposely kept very simple and easy to differentiate by touch.

The new packaging will be on all Herbal Essences bio: renew shampoo and conditioner bottles from January 2019.

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