According to many estimates there are approximately ten million Americans who experience vision loss or are completely blind(1), conditions that are often coupled with a fear of living independently. Today, the American Foundation for the Blind recognized Whirlpool brand for manufacturing products which help those with vision loss to maintain their independence at home.
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Whirlpool brand is the 14th annual recipient of the Helen Keller Achievement Award which recognizes individuals and organizations who have improved the quality of life for those who are visually impaired. The award is named for the world renowned advocate for the deaf and blind, Helen Keller, who spent her life as an author, speaker and humanitarian helping liberate those who could not see or hear.
"We are committed to listening to consumers and developing innovative appliances that better their changing needs," said John Alexander, Vice President, Brands & Customer Care - Whirlpool Corporation. "Those needs include increased accessibility and ease of use for all consumers, including those with vision loss. We are truly honored to receive this award."
Consumer insight is a commitment of Whirlpool brand and has helped a number of products evolve into the form they take today. For instance, engineers incorporated tones into the newest Duet laundry system to help guide users through various settings for wash and dry cycles. The Whirlpool brand Duet pair also can be placed on either 10" or 15.5" inch pedestals to be more accessible for those of varying heights.
For those with vision loss, it is suggested they establish an organization routine by returning items to their original location. This awareness supported the creation of Whirlpool brand's Laundry 123 products. The Whirlpool brand Vertical Laundry Tower features two oversized drawers to hold larger laundry items such as detergent bottles and pull-out supply tray to organize everything from dryer sheets to pocket change. A 10-inch retractable hanging rod is featured on certain models, providing consumers a temporary place to hang or air-dry four to six items such as shirt, hosiery and delicates. The Laundry Tower is then able to hold laundry supplies within easy reach for many.
In addition, Whirlpool is also making strides with kitchen appliances by offering many models with buttons on dishwasher doors which can be more easily felt by those with vision impairment.
In an effort to help those with vision loss maintain their independence, Whirlpool brand will continue to explore new audible controls and modified designs to address accessibility needs of their consumers to help them maintain independence.
To see demonstrations of Whirlpool brand products in use, visit www.whirlpool.com.
About Whirlpool Corporation
Whirlpool Corporation is the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, with annual sales of approximately $18 billion, more than 73,000 employees, and more than 70 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. The company markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Bauknecht and other major brand names to consumers in nearly every country around the world. Additional information about the company can be found at http://www.whirlpoolcorp.com/.
(1) American Foundation for the Blind:
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SOURCE: Whirlpool Corporation
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