We often use the expression, “I could get there with my eyes shut”, when we’re so accustomed to a certain place that it’s effortless to navigate there.
While this effortlessness is far from the reality for a blind or visually impaired person, there is certainly a level of comfort that comes with knowing exactly where you’re going and what to expect.
The restrictions put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic entirely dismantled this comfort – forcing most businesses, especially restaurants, to reconfigure their spaces to adhere to local laws. Indoor dining was turned into pickup stations, sidewalks became outdoor seating areas, and paper menus were scrapped for QR codes.
Any comfort a visually impaired individual had walking into their local coffee shop was stripped from them for over two years now.
Now is the time to take action.
As restaurants return to normalcy, it is imperative that they do so with a greater understanding of what it means to be accessible – in every sense of the word.
When faced with stringent CDC regulations, restaurant owners completely pivoted their existing businesses, building glamorous outdoor private dining and putting their tables 6 feet apart. Yet, the ADA Title III regulations governing the layouts of public spaces have consistently been overlooked for over 30 years.
It’s about time we take the same level of caution given to dining during a pandemic that we give to dining with a disability.
Here’s how technology can help.
RightHear provides app-based “talking signage” to create accessible public spaces for the blind, partially-sighted, and orientationally challenged.
RightHear automatically reads out directions or supplemental information to enable users to negotiate the space around them; stress free, independently, effortlessly.
Business owners can personalize their signage to cater to their location’s specific layout. Users, in turn, can leverage the free RightHear app, available on Android and iOS, in 26 different languages, to receive orientation assistance.
Why it matters.
RightHear’s innovative product is one of many steps to make the art of dining a universal experience. Sitting down at a restaurant or picking up a favorite take-out meal should not be an exclusive experience. RightHear is paving the way to inclusive eating with major partners around the globe. From every McDonald’s store and all Pizza Hut locations in Israel, to Costa Coffee in the UAE, and Shouk in Washington D.C, these franchises are truly embracing accessibility (and a great meal to go with it).