“You would never say a woman is not allowed to use our products. By not making your products accessible, you are saying the blind community is not welcome”.
Sumaira Latif, Company Accessibility Leader for Procter & Gamble
The world is changing for the better and brands are being increasingly held to account for how they are impacting the world around them and making information on product packaging available to everyone is a vital step in this journey.
However, there are definitely challenges facing brands when it comes to the prospect of making packaging information more accessible, ranging from cost and limited real estate on packaging, to the need to implement across diverse markets. However, there is a solution that effectively tackles these challenges while providing a seamless and fully branded experience for consumers: 'Accessible QR'.
What is Accessible QR
An Accessible QR code is made up of a standard QR code and a series of dots and dashes around one corner of one side of the QR. This simple addition of dots and dashes unlocks the ability for this one machine-readable code to be scanned as normal by your phone's camera, Google lens or QR scanner of your choice. But it also houses the ability for apps featuring an SDK called Zapvision to recognise these same codes from greater distances and use the accessibility features on the device for VoiceOver assistance, larger fonts, contrast settings etc.
That means blind and partially sighted people for the first time can use Accessible QR codes on packaging to access product information. Something we all take for granted but is an everyday issue for millions of people living with sight loss across the world. This a problem that can be solved through technology and make product packaging more equitable.
The power of the one code approach
Not Disrupting Brand Real Estate
One of the biggest challenges facing brands is the lack of spare real estate on pack, so while intentions may be good, the limited space can make it difficult to justify the inclusion of additional elements on pack. From a commercial point of view if you are going to have to start reducing your logo size and other important elements of branding an accessibility solution becomes less appealing. If the QR is already on pack to reach the majority of consumers and provide a digital springboard, then you don’t want to add competing digital signatures. By using 'Accessible QR' everything you need is in one place, keeping the packaging simple, streamlined and most importantly fully branded.
Besides protecting branding real estate, there is also a cost implication for brands when it comes to altering packaging design and process. Minimizing production expenses is crucial, and 'Accessible QR' offers a cost-effective solution. By utilizing only two colors for printing, the overall costs are reduced significantly.
Ease of Implementation
The best way to introduce an accessibility solution to brands is by seamlessly integrating it into existing processes. By making it part of an already existing benefit like digitizing packaging, brands can effortlessly roll in the accessibility solution without requiring additional effort or space. Meaning accessibility becomes an opt-out rather than an opt-in choice.
Integration into Existing Apps
For brands operating across multiple markets, addressing the diverse needs of consumers in each market is vital. Developing and supporting a single app for a specific use case across all markets would be costly and less relevant to each community. A one code approach like AQR offers a practical solution by integrating seamlessly into existing apps. This allows brands like Unilever, for example, with operations in over 120 markets, to cater to their consumers effectively and ensure accessibility is readily available.
Caring in an age of conscientious consumerism makes commercial sense. Creating products that are accessible to everyone is a way to do good but also expand your market. Better still, with AQR it's possible to do that without sacrificing other business priorities. If you’re already implementing QR on your packaging, AQRs become an operational no-brainer, paving the way for a fully branded and inclusive consumer experience.
The easiest of artwork updates, that’s already understood in an existing print production process that can be quickly integrated into the MarTech stack and data lake, quite simply, you’d need to opt out of AQR rather than opt-in and ask yourself why.
Senior Marketing Manager, Zappar