Household chores may seem like added stress for many, but if you are living with a visual impairment, they can be even more challenging. According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People, 250 people start to lose their sight in the UK every day and more than two million people are living with sight loss severe enough to impact their daily lives. Keeping independence top of mind, premium domestic appliance manufacturer, Miele has introduced a new washing machine which is specifically tailored to help those who are suffering with visual impairments, making household chores as simple as possible.
RNIB Senior Innovation Manager, Robin Spinks says, "It’s fantastic that Miele has introduced the first truly accessible washing machine specifically developed for blind and partially sighted people. Our Innovation Team works internationally with consumer brands to facilitate the development of inclusive products and we applaud Miele for recognising the needs of our community. We’re very excited about the potential of this product and the changes it might bring to the industry going forward.”
Designed to improve accessibility around the home, the Miele WDD131 WPS GuideLine Washing Machine benefits from tactile markings, raised lines and symbols across its fascia to guide users through its range of settings. In addition, the machine has been simplified further
thanks to the use of acoustic indications. Each programme selection and setting is controlled by a touch sensor and is accompanied by a specific signal for smooth operation. Each washing machine also comes with a USB stick containing an audio user manual in the widely recognised DAISY format for maximum usability.
The GuideLine model has been equipped with a special user interface, which is made up of two parts. A large rotary dial displays 12 individual wash programmes which are shown by clear dots. These programmes include; Express 20 for when time is limited, Wool for delicate items and a handy Minimum Iron, which is ideal for keeping shirts crease free. Turn the dial to select a program and the unit will sound, turning on automatically. When a wash cycle has finished the machine will audibly alert users to remove their clothes.
If a change in the temperature or spin speed is required, a raised guidance line will lead users from the rotary switch to the touch control panel. Here, individual settings can be made. In addition to temperature controls, the touch panel also allows users to delay the start of a programme or select a pre-wash for stubborn stains. Rated A+++ -10% for energy efficiency, the GuideLine benefits from a generous 8kg capacity. It also features Miele’s exclusive CapDosing technology, which dispenses the exact amount of specialist detergents for each wash, such as Outerwear, SilkCare and UltraDark, for the best possible wash results. As with all functions on the control panel, the specific capsule selection is marked by clear, raised symbols for ease of use by those who are visually impaired.
Also included is Miele’s patented honeycomb drum, which will take care of clothes ensuring no snagging or catching, thanks to the hexagonal sculptured surface that allows garments to glide on a thin film of water. As with all Miele appliances, which are tested to the equivalent of 20 years’ use, the new GuideLine model promises superior build quality and great cleaning results.