Best Buy house brand Insignia announced last week that it will bring to market an HD Radio designed for the blind and visually impaired.
The Narrator radio includes audible voice responses, access to local HD Radio broadcasts of reading services, and an ergonomic design designed in collaboration with the International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS) to be accessible for people with visual impairments. It was introduced last week at the IAAIS annual conference in Houston.
In partnering with the IAAIS, the design team was able to identify those radio features most requested by the roughly 20 million Americans who live with vision loss or impairment, David Noble, chairman of government relations at the IAAIS, told TWICE.
The Narrator’s key features include audible voice prompts on each of the seven function buttons, button layout and markings that are intuitively designed, 20-programmable presets and 3.5mm headphone jack. The radio has an ergonomic design, with a upward tilting face and a downward tilting top, that makes fingertip control more accessible.
The radio features an aux-in jack and AM/FM antenna inputs. The voice prompting can be turned off for use by the non-impaired.
The Narrator includes an instructional audio CD in lieu of an instruction manual.
“We chose to partner with the IAAIS to help identify and solve for the everyday technology needs of people with visual disabilities. The Narrator eliminates the need to see the display. Audible voice prompts tell the user which button was pressed, and when the radio’s functions are activated,” said senior product manager Mike Dahnert. “The Narrator has universal appeal, but is designed to be simple for a person who cannot see the display to operate.”
“Our association’s member stations provide access to current print so that people with disabilities can live more independently. We offered our insights as to which accessible features would make this radio a highly valuable product to someone living with low vision or blindness. Now, with the Narrator coming to market, people with visual disabilities will have a radio that they can program and tune by themselves,” said Noble.
The Narrator will ship in July with a retail of $99. Pre-orders for the Narrator can be made now on
. Noble said the IAAIS will also have a program in place to market the radio through its local branches.