SLC’s trial GoodMaps app in ASDA stores
This latest round of testing follows a trial at Asda’s designated Technology-Innovation store. The supermarket has now expanded its trial to include a further ten stores in the GoodMaps smartphone app.
SLC’s were asked to explore how the GoodMaps app could make shopping more accessible for blind and partially sighted people.
Asda says use of the GoodMaps app means customers will be able to search for key landmarks within the store such as the pharmacy, toilets, and tills. The app can also search for specific product categories on the shelves, guiding the customer as close as possible to the item they are looking for.
Members of London SLC are in the fruit aisle, using the GoodMaps app on their phones
Lucy Williams, Senior Engagement Manager (South), said:
“London Sight Loss Council were excited to take a trip to Asda in Wembley to trial the GoodMaps app in store. We were successful in locating the bananas, and with a few hiccups, the coffee too.
“The app has a lot of potential. We found the look around feature, which describes the sections of the isles around you, particularly useful. We did encounter some issues around distance suggestions and navigation. It was tricky having to hold the phone upright, but we are looking forward to testing future versions of the app.”
Vicky Blencowe, London SLC member added:
“I really liked the function where you were able to scan the shelves. It was helpful to find out the general items that were in each aisle.
“The app could be very useful if you were in a different store to your normal one. It would mean you are still able to find the product that you want. Sadly, due to technical issues on the day, we were not able to fully explore the app.”
From left to right: Lianne McKeon, Birmingham SLC member, Louise Connop, Senior Engagement Manager (Central), and Steve Keith, Birmingham SLC member, are standing at the ASDA entrance
Louise Connop, Senior Engagement Manager (Central), said:
“Birmingham SLC members recently tested out GoodMaps at ASDA as part of their Purple Tuesday campaign. Being able to shadow a couple of different users to see how they interacted with the technology gave me a good insight into how the app could potentially be a lifeline to enable blind or partially sighted people to shop independently.
“Although the consensus was that the app testing was a positive experience, it did also highlight the limits that it may have. We have fed this back to the developers who are looking into how they can potentially improve things further to make it a smoother experience for the end user.”
“My three takeaways were:
1. The app is a great tool for popping to pick up a couple of things you may need, but it wouldn’t be able to do a ‘big shop’.
2. Seasonal aisles don’t work; the stores move things around regularly which means that it’s difficult for the app to be accurate
3. It was difficult to figure out how to hold the phone and what speed to walk at to enable to app to work. With time and practice this could hopefully be figured out.”
Steve Keith, Birmingham SLC member, added:
“The GoodMaps trial that we did in ASDA on Purple Tuesday was relatively successful. It would enable me to pick up a couple of items if I were in need, but not do a weekly shop. I think the technology is great, but think it would work better in railway stations with less chance of things changing locations etc. For example, when we were in the seasonal aisles the app couldn’t pick up where we were.”
Steve Keith, Birmingham SLC member, and his guide dog in the coffee aisle
Kelly Barton, Engagement Manager for the North-West, said:
“Although the app wasn’t perfect, it gave me some good orientation. I got an understanding of the layout of the store and I was able to find a few items on my own. It’s great for independent shopping. We experienced a few glitches with the app, but it is great to see this kind of technology moving in the right direction.”
Mike Wright, Merseyside SLC member, added:
“GoodMaps offers real potential for blind and partially sighted people to live more independently. It will enable them to take a level of control regarding their surroundings.
“However, it was evident that a degree of further research and development may be necessary. It was difficult to hold a handheld device, carry your shopping, and use a mobility aid such as long cane or guide dog simultaneously.
“Companies such as Asda should be commended for trialling products such as GoodMaps. I am cautiously excited at the progress which has been made in creating accessible GPS based products for blind and partially sighted people.”
Kelly Barton, Engagement Manager for North-West, is sharing her phone screen, following the successful navigation to the flowers
Sight Loss Councils look forward to continuing to work with GoodMaps as further improvements are made to the app.
Indoor navigation: the promise of greater independence
Read more on indoor navigation apps in the latest article from TPT’s tech team. They explore where navigation apps are currently and how they may evolve in the future.
- ASDA expands its trial of GoodMaps app to a further 10 stores
- Purple Tuesday 2022: Launch of ‘Top tips for retailers’ guide
- Greater Manchester SLC trial the GoodMaps app at Manchester Airport Railway Station
Members of Merseyside SLC in the foyer of ASDA seen holding their phones, using the app
Publication date: 09 December 2022