West Yorkshire SLC trials GoodMaps app
West Yorkshire Sight Loss Council (SLC) has become the latest SLC to trial the GoodMaps Explore Indoor navigation app in Asda stores.
SLC’s were asked to explore how the GoodMaps app could make shopping more accessible for blind and partially sighted people. 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.
We caught up with Iain Mitchell, Senior Engagement Manager (North) about the experience. He said:
“On Tuesday 10 January, West Yorkshire Sight Loss Council visited a local Asda store to try out the GoodMaps app. The concept behind the app is that the shopper is guided to the various products they wish to purchase.
“This is a fantastic idea and would enable anyone using the app a greater sense of independence. It would give the shopper the freedom to browse, without feeling the need to ask for support in store.
Before we arrived, we had two questions:
1. Would we be able to maintain a signal the further we ventured into store?
2. How effective would the app be at identifying more than one type of product? For example, spices from herbs etc.
As our trial started, we quickly encountered several difficulties. The first was how the directions are announced. For example: “Walk north-easterly.” It felt difficult to navigate using this instruction without a compass.
However, we really liked how the app tells you the layout and services that each individual branch offers.”
David Quarmby, West Yorkshire SLC member, using the app in store
“We felt that the accuracy of the app needs improvement. For example, David was repeatedly directed into the centre of shelving units, after being told to turn left or right. He had his guide dog Reg and myself there to avoid any accidents, but this highlights that its accuracy needs to improve.
During the trial, we gave ourselves the task of finding five different items. Sadly, our success rate using the app was zero. Nevertheless, we feel the concept of the app is good and that GoodMaps should persevere with its development.
Also, and this is important to note, the app is dependent on the store updating it every time an item is moved, or the store layout changes. We also think it’s important that end users learn and understand how to use the app first, so they can get the most out of it when they use it.
Overall, we feel this is a great concept, but it is still in its infancy. There is a long way to go before it will become a “go-to” app for improving blind and partially sighted people’s shopping experience.”
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
Are you passionate about improving services for blind and partially sighted people?
If you live in West Yorkshire and want to advocate for visually impaired people, we have the perfect volunteering opportunity for you.
Find out more about volunteering for Sight Loss Councils in our Volunteer Role Description – Volunteer Role Description Sight Loss Council Member (DOCX, 60 KB).
If you would like to apply to become a Sight Loss Council member,
Publication date: 23 January 2023