Starbucks app improves accessibility features for visually impaired users: Report

    While the company is currently rolling out a few new accessibility features to users in the United States, it is unclear whether they will also roll out to users in other countries.   
    By HT TECH
    | Updated on Mar 16 2021, 12:59 PM IST
    Starbucks gets a couple of accessibility friendly improvements.
    Starbucks gets a couple of accessibility friendly improvements. (Marco Chilese/Unsplash)
    Starbucks gets a couple of accessibility friendly improvements.
    Starbucks gets a couple of accessibility friendly improvements. (Marco Chilese/Unsplash)

    Making apps and services accessible to all users is an important part of the development process, and not ensuring accessibility can result in losing customers - especially if they can’t make use of your services. Both iOS and Android include a few accessibility features for apps to make use of, but apps also build in their own solutions. Starbucks is the latest company to do so, according to reports.

    Also read: Microsoft to let people with disabilities test games for accessibility support

    According to a report by CNET, the company recently announced that it was going to offer its customers in the United States free access to Aira, a service that will let visually impaired and blind users gain access to a real person who will help them understand their surroundings inside the outlet. This can be as simple as reading a sign that informs users about COVID-19 norms at the outlet, or whether there were too many people around them.

    That’s not all the company is doing in terms of accessibility, though. The report states that in addition to the Aira service, the company is also adding image descriptions to its website, and is offering visually impaired users the ability to use Braille menus, which was developed in collaboration with the National Braille Press. However, there are doubts about how safe it will be to use these Braille menus during the pandemic unless they are regularly sanitised.

    Read more: Facebook improves its AI tool that generates photo descriptions for visually impaired users

    The company’s senior vice president of global growth and development also said that the Aira service was relevant all the time, but even more so during the pandemic, as people were anxious about social distancing. Visually impaired users might definitely feel more comfortable with an extra reassurance that they were standing on the right floor markers and to know how far others were from them, for example.

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    First Published Date: 16 Mar, 12:58 PM IST
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