A Personal Journey with RightHear at McDonald’s

Around a year ago, Natalie Shearer, a deafblind user, MET (Master of Educational Technology), CPACC (Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies), who now serves as the Head of Accessibility at Lotus, put RightHear to the test.

Our is app designed to empower people with visual impairments to acquire better spatial orientation independently. Natalie’s trial run at a McDonald’s restaurant in Toronto is not just a testimony to the benefits of advanced technology, but a call to action for businesses to become more inclusive and accessible.

RightHear stands at the forefront of the accessibility revolution. It functions like “Talking Signs,” guiding users through audio cues. The McDonald’s restaurant in Toronto, where Natalie put our app to the test, is one of the pioneering local franchises taking strides towards making their spaces more accommodating and inclusive.

In the video above, filmed around a year ago, Natalie demonstrates how she navigates through the bustling environment of McDonald’s using the RightHear app. Her first-hand experience emphasizes how such innovations are vital in creating an inclusive community, and why more businesses should follow suit.

Natalie’s words testify to the immense benefits the app provides. As someone with severe hearing loss and limited vision, she relies heavily on her residual vision for navigation. RightHear, she found, offered a significant advantage, lessening the mental and physical energy spent scanning her environment, and enabling her to focus on specific reference points instead.

Despite having no prior experience with wayfinding apps, Natalie quickly adapted to RightHear. She particularly appreciated the app’s detailed guidance without overwhelming her with unnecessary information. She found it incredibly helpful to know, for instance, where the washrooms were upon arrival, saving her the struggle of trying to locate them herself.

The importance of Talking Signs like the RightHear app cannot be understated. In a busy environment like McDonald’s, the app successfully enhanced Natalie’s autonomy and navigational comfort. It’s a clear demonstration of how technology can revolutionize the experience of individuals with visual impairments.

Yet, it’s important to note that our collaboration with McDonald’s is still at a testing phase, focused on local franchises rather than the corporation at large. We see this as a stepping stone towards a larger goal: promoting inclusivity and accessibility at a global scale.

Although Natalie’s report is from a year ago, its message is still as relevant today. It emphasizes the necessity for more businesses to implement such technology. RightHear aims to pave the way for a more accessible future, and we invite all businesses to join us in this endeavor.

In a world where businesses are increasingly recognizing the importance of being accessible to all, “Talking Signs” like RightHear are essential. They are not just tools for navigation; they symbolize a commitment to inclusivity, respect for diversity, and an understanding of the unique challenges faced by individuals with visual impairments.

Every business can benefit from this technology, which not only makes their premises more accessible but also positions their brand as a champion of inclusivity. With RightHear, businesses can take a confident step towards a more inclusive future.

Natalie Shearer, thank you so much for sharing with your experience with RightHear, and helping us making the world a more accessible place.