Peapod Enhances Mobile App, Website for Blind, Visually Impaired Shoppers
As grocers continue building omnichannel capabilities to make shopping easier for everyone anywhere at any time, Peapod has now made sure its digital platforms are fully accessible to blind consumers.
The Chicago-based ecommerce grocer’s mobile app and website now comply with regulations under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), adopted into law in 1990 to ensure equal opportunities for all people with disabilities, in an effort to better serve customers with disabilities. The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed on May 11 that the retailer has fulfilled its commitment to making its consumer interfaces accessible to all consumers.
For assistance with the process, Peapod enlisted My Blind Spot, a company that helps organizations integrate inclusive digital design into their culture, processes and technical infrastructures.
"We were thrilled when Peapod came to us to assist with this project," said Albert J. Rizzi, founder and CEO of My Blind Spot, a New York-based organization that promotes equality and accessibility for the blind and visually impaired. "Many companies don't take the time and effort to truly understand the needs of all their consumers, and it was clear to us through working with Peapod that they really care about each and every one of their customers having the best experience possible, regardless of their abilities."
During the process, the Ahold Delhaize USA subsidiary used blind accessibility testers to improve the experience. Brian Fischler, a blind Peapod shopper who also co-hosts That Blind Tech Show, lauded the changes, noting that the app is now completely accessible via VoiceOver, Apple’s screen-reading software that increases accessibility for blind and low-vision users, as well as those with dyslexia.
“Some of my favorite features include VoiceOver announcing your updated cart total, being able to easily add items you forgot to your upcoming order, and the entire checkout experience,” he said.
The app also is accessible for Android-device users through TalkBack, the operating system's default assistant technology, Peapod confirmed with Progressive Grocer. For desktop applications, Mac users have access to VoiceOver, while Windows users can take advantage of a variety of assistive technologies, including JAWS, NVDA, Cobra and more, as well as assistive utilities provided by the Windows operating system.
More than half of the online grocer's orders come through a mobile device, said Tim Franklin, VP of ecommerce development at Peapod, a fact that made it clear to the e-grocer that it needed to start improving accessibility through its app. Following that, it “completely recreated” its website and desktop shopping experience.
“Our question is always ‘how do we make this easier for our current Peapod shoppers and also for potential customers?’” Franklin noted, adding that “the updates are geared to serve a diverse group of customers and hope to eliminate any barriers they might face.”