Apps are a great way for people living with sight loss to maintain their independence. Read on to learn about Laundry Lens, an app that can help you to independently interpret laundry labels and wash clothes. If you’ve ever washed clothes on the wrong wash, this may be the app for you!
Introduction to Laundry Lens
Laundry Lens, available on iOS, is a free app that allows you to scan laundry labels and identify washing instructions based on those labels. It also allows you to search and browse a comprehensive library of laundry labels to identify what they mean. The app is split into two modes: library mode and scanner mode.
Richard from our Digital Enablement Team put the app to the test. Read what he thought below.
The Library portion of the app contains pictures of all the laundry symbols you are ever likely to encounter, including professional symbols. There is also the option to take a photo of a symbol not listed, and send it to the developer for addition to the library.
The library can be accessed by swiping up the screen or activating the View Mode Scanner Button (the button indicates which mode is currently activated, not which mode you would switch to when you activate the button).
The symbols appear to be for reference, to confirm that they are being scanned for. The library does not appear to provide further information for the sighted user, however, with VoiceOver, the symbol meaning is spoken out.
Apart from enlightening me of the number of different symbols used on laundry labels, I could not find any significant use for the Library.
The label scanner is the mode that launches when you open the app. The Scanner is the best and most useful part of the app.
This scans your clothing labels for laundry symbols and displays which symbols are found. There is the option to read the instructions associated with each laundry symbol.
The scanning is automatic, so you do not need to do anything apart from hold the phone steady. There is also the option to turn the device’s flash light on so lighting conditions do not affect the accuracy of scanning.
It usually takes a few seconds for the symbols to be scanned, and haptic feedback confirms that this is done.
Putting the scanner to the test
I went through my laundry basket twice, once without a blindfold and once with a blindfold on.
The first time round, without a blindfold, there was 100% accuracy when scanning the symbols and I was able to split the laundry appropriately.
During this exercise, I noticed that on all the labels that I scanned, the washing instructions came first followed by any other secondary labels.
The second time round, blindfolded, I was able to locate the labels by touch and scan them all. I ended up with the laundry separated in the same way as when I used the app as without a blindfold.
There were, however, a couple of items where not all the symbols were picked up and it might have been possible to miss a ‘Do Not Dry Clean’ label.
I also realised afterwards that I should have used the app in conjunction with a colour identifier, as there is a possibility that I could have washed clothes that should not be washed together as a result of their colour.
Once you have read the instructions, you can go back to the Scanner by tapping on the Cross symbol at the top right of the screen, or, if using VoiceOver, locate and activate the ‘Dismiss Instructions’ button.
Overall, I thought that Laundry Lens was quite a useful app. Accessibility was good in terms of respecting the user’s display preferences, and VoiceOver worked as expected.
Unfortunately, Laundry Lens is not available on Android.