The impact of design for people with disabilities

It was revealed this week that the packaging containing Microsoft’s new Xbox controller for people with disabilities has been designed to be opened as simply as possible.

The impact of design for people with mental and physical disabilities is often left forgotten, which is why Microsoft’s new take on the humble box is drumming up a huge amount of interest from the disabled community.

The controller itself was made to help less-abled gamers access video games which they wouldn’t usually be able to play. But Microsoft also identified that many individuals have huge difficulties getting into the box itself.

“A lot of these limited mobility gamers are actually used to opening packages with their teeth,” said Mark Weiser of Microsoft.

“We wanted to deliver an empowering unboxing experience.”

The packaging features loops, multiple access points, hinges, levers and ribbons so gamers can open the box in a variety of ways.

In a virtual video, it shows that the outer packaging is opened by tearing a looped ribbon off the top of the box, which is where you would usually find a taped section requiring the use of scissors or a box cutter.

The box itself is opened by tearing a looped ribbon and opened using a lever. Once inside, Microsoft says there are three ways users can extract the product from the box – something even the majority of able-bodied people can sometimes struggle with.

Feedback has already indicated that Microsoft’s new packaging will make a small, but significant impact on the lives of people with disabilities. And with an estimated 30 million disabled gamers in the US alone, a small difference in design will go a very long way.