Could Navilens Be The Answer To Inaccessible QR Codes?

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Show Notes

QR codes have been around for some time now but it really was during the pandemic that they came into use in a much more mainstream way. In some cases, it was the only way to check in at a restaurant or public building which left blind people struggling to locate the codes, mainly due to them being printed poorly, out of sight near an entrance or too small for a smartphone camera to see.

Navilens hopes to take what QR started, and make it better. It uses a much larger and colourful square box which smartphone cameras can see better in poor light, plus the accompanying app provides the user with the possibility of a wide range of information.

RNIB have been trialling the Navilens codes at their head office in London for some time now and it has proven extremely useful in helping guide a blind person to reception, toilets and seating areas independently. However RNIB wanted to go much further.

Identifying food packaging is a major issue for blind people, so what if packaging could contain a Navilens code that could give smartphone users information they wouldn’t be able to read on the box or packet? RNIB campaigned for this and has seen success this year with Kelloggs rolling out cereal boxes with the Navilens code on its box. The best bit is? This solution isn’t made just for blind people – its completely inclusive and everyone can use it.

On the podcast, Steven Scott talks to Marc Powell from RNIB about the work to make all of this happen here in the UK and RNIB Technology for Life team member Hannah Rowlatt gives us a short demo on how to download and use the app from a blind person’s perspective. There’s also hints on how you can make your own codes at home with only a smartphone and printer required.

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