New technologies have opened up exciting possibilities for making life easier for people with a serious sight problem. RNIB has been active in identifying these possibilities and encouraging the development of appropriate systems and products.

At the same time, new technologies have had a major impact on society as a whole. For instance cash dispensers and mobile phones are now widespread and other new technologies such as interactive television, smart cards and satellite navigation systems are likely to have increasing market penetration in the next few years. Unfortunately many of these new systems are difficult or impossible to use by someone with a serious sight problem, unless their needs were considered when the system was designed. In the area of user interface design, good design for people with disabilities is often good design for everyone.

The RNIB Scientific Research Unit has produced a range of publications to help designers understand the needs of visually impaired people and to show what could be done to make new systems easier to use. This new publication brings together much of this work to give an overview of the current state of the art in this important area. It will constitute an invaluable resource for RNIB's campaigning work to persuade designers and manufacturers to pay more attention to the needs of people with a serious sight problem.

Colin Low CBE
Royal National Institute of the Blind