Meridia’s software and hardware serves a wide array of public – including those with visual impairment. For those who have color-blindness, are hard-of-seeing or legally blind, voting on important issues in their community can be difficult using electronic devices.
We have worked with our clients and developed a keypad that not only gives the user haptic feedback they need in order to know whether they are pushing an actual button, but also provides a Braille symbol for Yes, No, and Abstain vote. Plus, it makes a sound when you push the button, so you know you voted.
Ever since Mr. Louis Braille invented the Braille alphabet, visually impaired individuals had a way to express themselves, learn, and participate in society they were otherwise shut out of.
We are trying to do the same – allow the marginalized to participate in the public discourse and the democratic processes within their government bodies.
Our voting clickers have always been easy to use – just push 1 for Yes, or 2 for No, but for a blind, or visually impaired person, it’s hard – even impossible to know which one is which.
That’s why we’re introducing our new ADA-compatible, Braille-enhanced keypad. It’s based on the EZ-VOTE 10 model, so it’s slightly larger, thus easier to hold. It has a lanyard attachment point (like the EZ-VOTE 5) so that it is easily secured to the voter’s body and easily found without necessarily being visible.
It can be programmed to make a sound when you push the button and it has a special Braille symbol for each of the voting buttons – Yes, No, and Abstain.
Braille’s system allows visually impaired individuals to read through haptic feedback – which is the use of touch to communicate with the user. Haptic feedback can take many forms, like a phone screen emitting a small vibration when a button is pressed, or a game controller vibrating in response to the player’s inputs.
In Braille’s system, haptic feedback is communicated through a series of raised dots. Louis Braille realized that there were more ways to communicate language than through auditory and visual perception- Which is why Braille’s system invented in 1824 was fully touch-based. By moving one’s fingertips from left to right over the dots, the user can recognize patterns that form words and sentences, similarly to the English alphabet.
Tactile feedback has a vital role in making sense of our world. It provides information about our environment which can improve our efficiency and accuracy when using technology- and without it, Braille’s system wouldn’t be possible. A driver might have to glance downward to navigate their car’s touch screen display, whereas physical buttons provide enough tactile information for the driver to know which button is being pressed without perceiving it visually.
Our keypads provide the haptic feedback that visually impaired individuals need to vote efficiently in a simple, easy-to-use layout. The Braille-enhanced buttons eliminate any guesswork or confusion for those with visual impairments; So you can rest assured that every participant voted accurately.
If you or your clients have any questions about the Braille-enhanced keypads, call Call: (610) 260-6800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org