Retail/Wholesale, Non-Store Retailing, Lodgings/Restaurants/Bars, Restaurants/Cafes/Fast Food Places, Limited-Service Restaurants/Cafes, Leisure/Arts/Hospitality, Retail, New Products/Services, Capacity/Facilities, Corporate/Industrial News

Retail/Wholesale, Non-Store Retailing

McDonald’s Starts Making Self-Service Easier for Blind Diners

Fast-food chain says all company-owned restaurants will offer screen-reader technology on its kiosks by the end of the year.

9/17/2021 10:45:00 PM

McDonald’s says all company-owned restaurants will offer screen-reader technology on its kiosks to make them more accessible to blind people by the end of the year

Fast-food chain says all company-owned restaurants will offer screen-reader technology on its kiosks by the end of the year.

is upgrading some of its self-service kiosks to make them more accessible to blind people.Company-owned McDonald’s restaurants are mounting new keypads and headphone jacks onto the touch-screen kiosks it introduced in 2015 as alternatives to ordering at the counter. Blind users can connect their headphones to the system and browse the digital menu using screen-reader technology and tactile arrow buttons, adding items to their basket by pressing a central button.

Republican election official who fought Trump fraud claims up for federal job Opinion | Tesla Is Worth $1 Trillion Emily Blunt Will Host the 2021 CFDA Fashion Awards

McDonald’s said its existing self-service kiosks were rolled out in compliance with accessibility laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. The kiosks, which have enough clear floor space for wheelchair users, include a screen magnifier and a “press for assistance” button that is labeled in Braille.

Newsletter Sign-upThe Experience ReportGet weekly insights into the ways companies optimize data, technology and design to drive success with their customers and employees.PREVIEWSUBSCRIBEBut members of the National Federation of the Blind, or NFB, reported that often, no help came when they pressed the button, said the organization’s general counsel, Scott LaBarre, who is blind.

McDonald’s introduced the kiosks to let customers place orders themselves, so requiring some users to wait for help from staff wasn’t an equitable service, Mr. LaBarre said.“We really encountered the barrier of not being able to use these machines, which were making life a lot more convenient for others,” he said.

The NFB raised its concerns with McDonald’s in 2019. The organizations worked together to create and test the new system, which employs existing technology developed by TPGi, an accessibility software provider and consulting firm owned by Vispero, and Storm Interface, which develops assistive hardware and trades as Keymat Technology Ltd.

The results of the collaboration are arriving as an increasing number of lawsuits over accessibility are being filed. Between January and June of this year, just over 6,300 suits were filed in federal court alleging violations of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public spaces and commercial facilities, according to the Chicago-based law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP. The firm expects the number of those suits to exceed 12,000 this year, which would be the most since it began tracking them in 2013.

A headphone jack now installed on some McDonald’s self-service kiosks lets blind users plug into screen-reader technology and order independently.Photo:National Federation of the BlindThe NFB’s Mr. LaBarre said he has concerns about what he called “drive-by litigation, where a lot of times the parties involved aren’t involved in systemic change, or reform.”

Russia, Ukraine report record daily deaths, low vaccinations Hiker missing for 24 hours ignored rescuers calls because 'they didn’t recognize the number' Bill Gates Is Making His Book On Climate Change Free For All College Students

“It is a valuable tool, the ADA, and when you need to you should use it, and you should use it as zealously and strongly as you can,” he said.“But we don’t rush into court right away and file a lawsuit,” he added. “We really try to reach out first and say, ‘Hey, there’s a barrier, there’s a problem, and here are some ideas about a path that you can take that will resolve the issue’.”

The adjustments to McDonald’s kiosks will come slowly.The company said all of its company-owned restaurants in the U.S. will offer the additional assistive system by the end of this year. The technology will be added to all existing kiosks in company-owned restaurants in California, and 25% of existing kiosks in other U.S. states.

But McDonald’s only operates around 5% of its roughly 14,000 U.S. restaurants, the company said. The rest are run by franchisees.The company said it would add the new accessibility function to all new kiosks installed in any U.S. restaurant after July 1, including those sold to franchised restaurants.

Read more: The Wall Street Journal »

What You Need to Know about NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 Mission

NASA and SpaceX once again are gearing up to launch astronauts on an American rocket and spacecraft from American soil to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Slovenia starts mandatory vaccination for government workersSlovenia’s government said on Friday that it would immediately start with compulsory COVID-19 vaccination for all government employees, stepping up anti-virus measures that had already sparked a major riot in the small Alpine state. All government workers will need to receive one shot by Oct. 1 and a second a month later, unless they get the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. PCR tests will no longer be accepted to gain entry into government-funded workplaces, including state-run hospitals. The government will end up saying... Get the shot or maybe we will have to ask mr. Putin to make you get the injection 💉 Guess they have not reviewed the disappointing data from heavily vaxxed Israel and UK.

Cuba starts giving Covid shots to children as young as 2 – latest updatesCuba begins vaccinating children as young as 2. Here are other Covid19 updates: 🇮🇹 Italy requires pass for all workers from October 15 🇲🇽 Mexico reports 7,040 cases 💉 Africa jab shortfall could take world 'back to square one' For more: WHO: Africa vaccine shortages raise risk of new variants. More Covid19 updates: 🇨🇳 China reports 62 new cases, 1 billion vaccinated 🇰🇷 South Korea records more than 2,000 new cases 🇦🇺 NSW to trial home quarantine for international arrivals For more:

Eric McCormack Joins ‘Departure’ As Canadian-British Series Starts Production On Season 3Season three of international thriller drama series Departure, headlined by Archie Panjabi, has begun production in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Toronto. Will & Grace alum Eric McCormack has jo… oh i cant wait EricMcCormack We will be watching. EricMcCormack Eric McCormack is still one of the Hottest men ever!

Ford, Walmart and Argo AI team up to launch autonomous vehicle delivery serviceCustomers may soon get their Walmart orders delivered by an autonomous vehicle. Self-driving startup Argo AI, automaker Ford Motor and Walmart will together launch the service in Miami, Austin, and Washington, D.C.

Simone Biles, Other Elite Gymnasts Slam FBI For ‘Failed’ Nassar InvestigationThe FBI “turned a blind eye to us,” Biles told a Senate committee Wednesday. nice right? horrible Learn the truth about the vaccines. It’s all on my Twitter page. ⚡️

NPR Cookie Consent and ChoicesYes