Throwback Thursday — Accessible Packaging Moves Us All Forward

October 10, 2019


At its best, packaging is a blast to open. Certain brands have perfected the unboxing experience, leaving you on the edge of your seat until your coveted product is finally in your hands.

But at its worst, certain types of packages can be unwieldy and frustrating, especially for those with limited mobility. Furthering accessibility is a responsibility we all have in the packaging industry, and two major brands are leading the charge.

In 2018 Microsoft released the Xbox Adaptive Controller for its home video game console. The controller itself is a major step in accessibility for gamers with physical disabilities. It allows them to remap every button to a connected device of their choosing — buttons, foot pedals and lip sensors, to name a few.

The GIF above shows how Microsoft’s new packaging is just as accessible as the controller it houses. It uses peel-off straps instead of tape or twist ties to overcome what their design team calls the “no teeth” principle. Since most packaging is designed to be opened with two hands, individuals with limited mobility are often forced to use their teeth as an appendage — an unintuitive and unnecessarily difficult unboxing experience.

“It was through continued engagement with the disability community and research groups that we grew our understanding of what accessible packaging could include,” Microsoft said in a press release. “The Xbox Adaptive Controller required us to think in depth about accessibility in packaging, and we believe it is a powerful milestone on our accessibility journey.”

Photos courtesy of Kellogg’s

It’s not just the tech industry that’s opening their doors to the disability community. We’ve seen artists envision food packaging for the blind, but Kellogg’s is bringing that vision to life with a lot of love. Their program is called Love Notes, and it allows parents to include messages on Rice Krispie Treats packaging for their blind or low-vision children.

Parents can order a free sheet of braille stickers to affix to their child’s snack with encouraging messages, like “You’re a star” and “Love you lots.” For those who aren’t able to read braille, Kellogg’s also offers a custom cardboard box to hold a single Rice Krispie Treat that allows parents to record audio messages for their kids.

At Ernest, we’re committed to Moving Packaging Forward — and that means never losing sight of the purpose behind what we do. Packaging can bring people together, and that’s the principle upon which our company was founded. Learn about the altruism behind the scenes thanks to our president, Mr. Charles Wilson.