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Perceptible Information

Perceptible information is one of the principles of universal design, which makes goods and products accessible to many people. This article will outline some examples of perceptible information.

Perceptible Information

Perceptible information means that people can understand and use products and spaces with various senses. For example, when doorbells flash, ring, and vibrate, people who are deaf, blind, or deafblind can all answer their doors.

Furthermore, there should be high contrast between information that is essential and information that is not. For instance, controls to turn a machine on or off may be different from the machine’s other controls in:

  • Size
  • Shape
  • Colour
  • Texture

Likewise, the essential information also needs to be as legible as possible. For example, product instructions should use good colour contrast and fonts that are easy to read. Furthermore, these instructions should be available in conversion-ready formats. In other words, it should be easy for people to convert the instructions into any accessible format they choose, including:

  • Large print
  • Braille
  • Audio
  • Accessible digital formats, such as:
    • Word
    • HTML

In addition, the different parts of a product should be easy for people to describe, to give instructions or directions. For instance, if an office microwave had no tactile buttons or dials, a blind coworker would not be able to use it independently, unless they attached their own labels in Braille. However, if the microwave had tactile buttons or dials, colleagues could easily describe the placement and purpose of each tactile control.

Finally, products should be compatible with assistive technologies that people with sensory disabilities use, such as computer hardware or software. For example, if a thermostat had a touch screen but did not have its own audio output, a home owner who is blind could not use that product. However, the homeowner could control the thermostat through an app compatible with the screen reader the homeowner usually uses.