The main benefit of a tactile pregnancy test is to allow users with visual impairments to be the first ones to know their results, which would protect their privacy.


“Most have relied on family members to reveal the result,” the RNIB’s report said. “However some had been forced to look to neighbors and more distant friends.”

The research also notes that there are anonymous tech solutions, such as the Be My Eyes app, which connects visually impaired users with sighted volunteers. That particular app has a partnership with Clearblue, a pregnancy test maker, so that results can be read by a trained advisor.


While clever, that solution still doesn’t solve the privacy problem. You still have to involve a stranger in what can be an intensely intimate moment. There’s a wide range of circumstances that a person might be taking a pregnancy test—and sometimes the last thing you want is the “innocuous” commentary of a stranger, no matter how well-meaning they might be. For instance, if you’re experiencing an unwanted pregnancy scare, it’s reasonable that you wouldn’t want anyone around. Or, if you do want to have a child and the result is negative, you should have the right to not have to deal with anyone in that moment.

For now, the tactile test remains a prototype until someone decides to make a commercially available option. To that end, RNIB has publicly posted the CAD design for its prototype should anyone want to hit the ground running. That said, outside of accessibility reasons, digital pregnancy tests are in dire need of a redesign. On top of the misconception that they’re more accurate—they’re not; they use the same testing mechanisms as their “dumber” counterparts—they also cost significantly more. And if people have to pay more for accessibility and accuracy in a product, it’s not truly “accessible.” Good product design means everyone should be able to use it intuitively, accurately, and affordably. By that measure, no pregnancy test is particularly well-designed, let alone accessible.