Let me give you an example. Previously, if I or any other blind or visually impaired person needed to withdraw money from a cashpoint, my only option (where there isn’t a "talking ATM", of which there are very few) is to find a bank branch – a bit of a challenge if you can’t see. Or, I could ask a stranger for help which would involve giving them my PIN and trusting that they won’t either take out as much as they want and run off with my cash, the card, and the PIN, or take out more than I asked for, give me back what I need, and leave me none the wiser until I get my next statement. Quite the dilemma, and all just to withdraw some money!
Until last year there were only 70 "talking ATMs" – accessible for blind people – out of 64,000 in the UK. Barclays won the Technology4Good Accessibility Award last year, recognising the start they had made to help people like me. The powerful thing is that other banks are now following suit.
Our research recently found that 44% of British people want a public commitment on accessibility from all organisations with a digital interface. Businesses should think about accessibility as more than a siloed, corporate social responsibility tick box exercise. The "purple pound" is growing and there is an economic benefit to ensuring product and service tech development factors in general usability.
Inventors can submit for ideas Technology4Good Awards here. Entries close 6 May 2016 at 5pm.