Procter & Gamble’s Herbal Essences has become the first North American mass hair care brand to adjust its bottle design in order to make it simpler for the visually impaired to tell the difference between shampoo and conditioner through their sense of touch.
The newly enhanced package features tactile indentations that help to alleviate in shower confusion. The initiative was spearheaded by P&G Consultant for Inclusive Design, Sumaira Latif who is herself blind.
“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,” says Latif speaking from personal experience. And as it relates to the bottle design, she says the intention was clear: “It was important that we invent a feature, a universally recognizable tactile feature, which would work for people who haven’t had the opportunity to learn braille.”
Latif goes on to explain that, although the solution – adding dots or lines to the mould – sounds simple, in reality changing manufacturing processes is complicated, especially when it involves the kind of scale where hundreds of bottles are processed every minute. Indeed, it was the company’s collective passion for the project that pushed it through with Latif working with Herbal Essences North America Brand Manager, Lynn Hicks, and Herbal Essences Packaging Engineer, Shane Mays.