In our previous post, we talked about how the Aware mobile app paired with iBeacons helps people who are blind find their way around unfamiliar settings. Since the app’s development two years ago, other new and exciting features have been incorporated. These are the “Around Me” button, and the addition of various restaurant menus. Below is an overview of those features, and how they can help enhance the wayfinding experience for individuals without sight.
Like anyone else, I want to know what’s near my current location. This is especially true when I am visiting a new city or neighborhood, for example. The “Around Me” button in the Aware app helps me do just that. By pressing this button, the app tells me what businesses are nearby within walking distance. The app retrieves nearby businesses from Google Places and lists them from closest to farthest. The Aware app also tells users the approximate clock direction at which a business is located in relation to their location. It is important to note that iBeacons need not be installed in order for this feature to work. Once I hear a business I want to go to, I press the “get GPS directions” button. The app then takes me to the Maps app on my iPhone (as of this writing, I am using the iOS app). From there I can get walking directions to the venue. Aware will alert me when I am within 100 feet of my destination.
Most people who are blind or visually impaired can relate to the following scenario. After arriving at a restaurant, we discover there are no menus in Braille or large print. We therefore have no choice but to ask a family member or friend (or even the server) to read the menu choices to us. This can make us feel uncomfortable or rushed to pick our meals.
The Aware app now provides menus for select restaurants. These include Panera Bread, Panda Express, Chili’s, among others. To access these menus, users have to go to the “venues” section of the app, and once they have selected the restaurant of their choice, they will find a list of menu items in the directory. Given that restaurants often update their menu selections, it is always advisable to confirm with your server that the food or beverage you wish to purchase is currently available. On the same note, restaurants can easily update their menus through the Aware web portal.
These are just two of the new and exciting features offered to users by Sensible Innovations and Aware app. Stay tuned to our website and blog, as we will be adding even more features in the upcoming months!
To increase public awareness and understanding, The Chicago Lighthouse proudly introduces “Sandy’s View,” a weekly column featuring responses to commonly asked questions about the challenges facing people who are blind or visually impaired.
Each week we will share a question with our audience along with a detailed response. Penning the new column is Lighthouse staff member Sandy Murillo, a journalist and contributor to “The Beacon,” a popular weekly radio program on disability issues.