By Lisa Redford, BucksVision Volunteer Supervisor
As someone who is severely sight impaired, I have always been a little unsure about shopping online. So many times I have got so close to ordering something and then an inaccessible captcha popped up causing me to abandon the whole exercise.
However recently I became aware that many major stores have phone apps so I decided to give them a go. First of all I decided to try out the Tesco app (for reference I use an iPhone with the built in voiceover enabled software).
The first step after downloading the app is to set up your account. I did have some help with this, both for quickness and in case anything such as a club card number was needed, but when it came to the actual ordering it was so easy!
When you set up your account you add your payment details and these are saved so no having to type them in every time (although for security you are required to enter your security code to confirm your purchase).
Once my account was set up I had a browse of the special offers, using the opportunity both to buy things I usually do at a cheaper price and as a means of trying out products I didn’t know existed, such as Belgian dark chocolate rice cake thins (very pleasant) and a cheese, leek and potato pie (scrummy).
Adding and removing items from my basket was easy, a one-finger up swipe added the item and increased the quantity if I wanted more than one, while a downward swipe decreased the quantity and deleted the item once it reached zero.
To locate items I could just search for them using key words in the search bar. The app read out all of the key options as I swiped through them, enabling me to navigate easily.
The delivery came earlier than planned but the driver phoned me to check this was ok and she explained that just one item had been substituted and told me what it was.
The only possible drawback with shopping online for someone with limited vision is not knowing what some of the products are when you unpack them. You can overcome this by being selective about what you buy e.g. making sure you only order yoghurts, crisps etc in flavours which you like so you can grab one, eat it and not mind what it is. Tins can be particularly tricky if they are all the same shape so bear this in mind when choosing.
I was also pleasantly surprised to discover that if you click onto the preparation details of a product on the app, the cooking instructions are there so I no longer need to have these read to me by human eyes or attempt to use scanning software to decipher them.
I found the experience extremely eye-opening (pun intended) and it all went relatively smoothly so I will definitely be shopping this way in the future.
If you would like more information about apps or assistance with using them get in touch with us, we have Technology Volunteers who can assist with one off queries or more in depth help if required.
Please note other apps are available although some may be easier to use than others.