For Sumaira Latif, distinguishing the shampoo bottle from the conditioner hasn't always been easy. Latif is blind and has used different methods — from a rubber band to a swath of cellophane — to tell the difference between them in the shower.
"If you want to be independent, if you want to be confident, you don’t want to be asking your brother, your mother, your sister, your husband, your children, 'What’s this again? What bottle is this?' especially in such a private thing like a shower," Latif, a special consultant for inclusive design at Procter & Gamble (P&G), told TODAY Style.
This struggle ended up paving the way for Herbal Essences, one of P&G's brands, to add a new tactile element to their shampoo and conditioner bottles to help people with little or no vision tell the two apart.
"When you read with your fingers, it’s very challenging," Latif said. "So we had to keep it simple. We had to keep a repetitive pattern. It had to be tactile enough that it was not a decoration, but it was actually something that was a message and a communication."
The company's "bio:renew" bottles will now have four vertical lines etched under the product label on shampoos and two rows of dots in the same location on conditioners.
The new bottles will be available everywhere the products are sold starting in January 2019, but they've already getting attention.
"We are pleased to see an industry leader like P&G and its Herbal Essences brand incorporate accessibility into the design of packaging," Mark Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said in the collection's press release. "We hope other manufacturers will take note of this effort and work with blind people to find solutions that allow us to identify their products quickly and independently."