Strong Vend creates tailor-made bean to cup coffee machines for the blind

23rd April 2009

Braille Coffee Machine

Strong Vend is leading the way in innovative design and accessibility after creating a user-friendly coffee and hot beverage machine which can be safely operated by people with sight problems.

The bean to cup coffee machine specialist was approached by an existing customer after an increase in the number of blind staff in its workforce.

The client, London’s Magistrate’s Courts, told Strong Vend that its visually impaired workers felt demoralised by the fact that they could not make a hot drink for themselves at work and had to wait for someone to offer to get one for them.

Strong Vend came up with a simple, yet effective solution to the problem; the custom-updated bean to cup coffee machines with Braille instruction panels and drinks labels, allowing visually impaired staff to enjoy a hot drink throughout the working day without having to ask for help.

Strong Vend also organised for each visually impaired staff member to be given training in machine operation.

The project required a huge amount of research as two forms of Braille exist in the UK, Grade1 (a formal version) and Grade 2 (a shorthand alternative). The Braille language style was overseen by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and the translation into Braille was done by PIA Transcription Services.

Sharon Bowell from RNIB said, “In the workplace, it’s often the small changes that make a big difference for blind and partially sighted people. We’re happy that Strong Vend consulted with us about the best way to make their machines user-friendly. We are always looking to work with companies who are keen to incorporate inclusive design into their work.”

Sharon Williams from PIA said, “This particular translation project was really interesting and a very practical example of how organisations can allow their employees to be independent in the workplace. It’s great to work with our customers to find practical, cost-effective solutions to every day issues.”

Steven Booth of Strong Vend added, “Strong Vend prides itself on high-quality products and services. It is very important to us that Strong Vend’s products can be enjoyed by all.

Accessibility is something that Strong Vend feels very passionately about, whether that be ensuring our website is available for people of all abilities or modifying our machines - our message is inclusivity.”

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