Aldi trials audio prompts to help blind and partially sighted shoppers

Working with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Aldi has announced it will trial audio prompts to help blind and partially-sighted customers safely enter its stores. 

The audio prompts at its traffic light entry system will help customers to remain safe and social distanced in stores during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Accessibility

Marc Powell, strategic accessibility lead at RNIB, says: “Social distancing has turned the world upside down for people with sight loss.

“Not only has it prevented many people from being guided effectively, but many of the indicators to aid social distancing are visual in nature, making them inaccessible for people who are blind or partially sighted.”

The supermarket introduced the traffic light system in May to help safely control the number of shoppers entering and leaving its UK stores. Now, working alongside its technology supplier, the retailer is trialling the enhanced system which uses a series of beeps to let blind and partially-sighted customers know they can safely enter. 

The technology is currently being trialled in Aldi’s Goldthorpe store in South Yorkshire. 

Guidance

Richard Thornton, communications director at Aldi UK, says: “We are always looking at how we can enhance the shopping experience for our customers and ensure government guidance is strictly followed.

“We are pleased to have worked with RNIB and Ocucon to trial audio prompts within our traffic light system to help visually impaired customers shop safely with us, and we will continue to review this.”

The new system comes as the RNIB has created new best practice guidance outlining how measures introduced to keep customers safe can be made accessible.

The guidance also aims to improve people’s understanding of the challenges being faced by bling and partially-sighted customers during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. 

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