A soap company is being criticised on social media for using Braille as a “fashion statement.”
Braille is used by those who are visually impaired as a way to feel rather than see words on a page or object.
But one woman wasn’t impressed by a soap bottle which uses Braille text to spell out the company’s name but wasn’t actually tactile meaning it couldn’t be read or understood by anyone visually impaired.
Molly Watt, who works as an accessibility consultant, advising companies on how their workplaces and products can be more accessible took to Twitter to reveal her disappointment.
“So these soaps have “Braille” on however… they’re not tactile….They literally just have Braille to LOOK like Braille… #baffled #accessibility #braille #notafashionstatement,” she wrote.
So these soaps have “Braille” on however... they’re not tactile.... They literally just have Braille to LOOK like Braille... @suthen ..... 🤦🏼♀️🙄 #baffled #accessibility #braille #notafashionstatement @soapco pic.twitter.com/0D0bwvn82R— Molly Watt Talks (@MollyWattTalks) May 21, 2019
And other people were just as baffled about why the bottles featured Braille if it wasn’t actually to help the visually impaired to use them.
Others pointed out that even if the bottles were tactile, they would only reveal the name of the company and not give any information about the product itself.
Just looking at this again Molly. Even if they were tactile you still wouldn't know which is which as they both just have the #braille for the company. Fail x 2!!!!— Dan (@dan0mah) May 22, 2019
But some people stepped in to reveal that the Braille print used by Soap Co is a symbol that they support and employ visually impaired and less able workers.
Their Braille print is to symbolise that they employ and support blind, disabled and disadvantaged people: https://t.co/DyDDrvSov7— Besma | Curiously Conscious (@BesmaCC) May 21, 2019
But Molly said there was a big difference in employing those with disabilities to making their products accessible.
“The fact they employ people with disabilities does not automatically make them fully accessible,” she wrote.
She later added: “It’s like saying “We use text to say we employ sighted people!” Braille is not a label for blind people, it has to work.”
Disability Awareness training is very different to employing people with disabilities, that said so much can be learnt from #pwd— Molly Watt Talks (@MollyWattTalks) May 22, 2019
And others were quick to agree with her on that point.
Okay? It is great that that a large proportion of their workforce is blind or disabled, but this still doesn’t explain why the Braille isn’t tactile. Braille is a tactile language, not visual.— Jonathan Attenborough (@JonAttenborough) May 22, 2019
Yahoo UK contacted Soap Co for comment and a spokesperson responded: “The Soap Co. is a social enterprise employing people who are partially sighted, blind or otherwise disadvantaged.
“We are passionate about our social mission to help people with disabilities into work as well as our products that are made using natural ingredients and create a low environmental footprint.
“We are sorry to hear that the customer has found it difficult to read the tactile dots on our packaging. These are not officially braille but have been tested and approved by our visually impaired employees.
“While we don’t make any claims to be fully accessible, we are helping over 80 people with disabilities into work and have created thousands of jobs for disadvantaged people. We do appreciate all feedback, good and bad, and will continue to apply this to our product development.”