A model app for accessibility: the supermarket on your mobile phone
Digitisation has led every company to offer their services through this route. Although this can assist the visually impaired with their everyday activities, accessibility is not always taken into account. We analyse this model app in the hope that it will become an example to follow in the sector
From the Institut de la Màcula’s expertise, along with the Barcelona Macula Foundation and the digital accessibility consulting firm DRJ, SilVer (Smart Aids for Visually Impaired) was given rise, a pioneering proposal in the sector. It is a free-access website resulting from major app and device cataloguing and selection. Parameters like functionality, ease of use, user profile and price, among many other aspects, have been assessed. Following exhaustive evaluation of over 150 technological instruments currently on the market and called “assistive technologies”, 40 TOP proposals have been selected for the website. The DRJ consulting firm, on this occasion, analyzes one of the daily problems people visually impaired encounter and how they deal with.
One of the greatest difficulties faced by the visually impaired in daily life is supermarket shopping. It becomes increasingly awkward to walk down the aisles and find the items they require among the thousands of products on sale. What is worse is that they cannot always ask for help.
To solve the problem, people are often recommended to make their purchases online because in addition they can receive them at home without any major difficulties. The problem, however, is that not all store web pages are accessible and easy to use. Instead of being a help, they can become an added hindrance.
This is why those with visual disabilities prefer to continue grappling with the difficulties of the traditional supermarket than spending several hours doing battle with a website that does not work properly.
But this does not always happen. A few months ago, Mercadona decided to move into the world of mobile communication and launched a new app, first in Valencia, then in Barcelona. Although it contains products that can be found on the traditional website, the app possesses very many advantages in terms of accessibility.
Basically, it functions in a quite intuitive and accessible manner. It has an engine for finding names or brands of products and easy-to-use menus that filter products by category and subcategories. It is like physically walking along the supermarket aisles.
In addition, it is not necessary to log in each time the app is used, as happens with the website. This speeds up the entire purchasing process. In addition, items can be added to the shopping cart when they run out at home, over different days, with all this being stored on the app. You only need to pay and choose the day and time that best suits you to receive the purchase at home.
Mercadona’s online sales service costs approximately 7 euros but it is very useful for large purchases. After all, it prevents you from being weighed down by your purchases and can be used in a fully independent manner. Another help for the autonomy of those with visual disabilities.
The Mercadona app is available for downloading using the following links: