Using the Wetherspoons app with a visual impairment

In line with our new COVID-inspired Community Confidence strategy, Richard from our Digital Team has been doing a bit of research on what the ‘new norm’ looks like when we go out to the pub (purely in the spirit of research!)
A lot has changed in our pubs, including installation of Perspex screens, staff and customers wearing face masks, tables being cleaned more often, and NHS Test and Trace details being requested before you sit down. Many restaurants and bars have changed the way that you order food and drinks, so I thought I would try out the Wetherspoons app to test its accessibility for blind and visually impaired users.

Introduction

Once upon a time, it was normal to walk into a pub and go to the bar to order a drink. All that has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as you are now encouraged to sit at a table and order your food and food drink there.

Menus that you could pick up and browse are now almost a thing of the past (or at the very least replaced with disposable paper menus).  Instead, you scan a QR code with your phone, which directs you to a webpage with the menu on. Accessibility for menus is now based on the accessibility of a webpage, rather than the size and contrast of text.

The Wetherspoons app has been around for some time – so, I downloaded the app and headed to my nearest Wetherspoons. Did I mention this was purely in the interest of research…?

Wetherspoons app logo
Wetherspoons pub Chorlton

The COVID-secure pub environment

My local Wetherspoons, the Sedge Lynn in Chorlton, is set in a former billiards hall that was built in the early twentieth century. There is a sense of irony that it was built by the Temperance movement! There is the main entrance, which has been designated as the primary entrance and exit, and a secondary door that leads to the small beer garden at the front. Although there is a route through the beer garden, this is discouraged but under normal circumstances, you would enter through the main entrance.

Although there are signs saying ‘Keep Left’, there is only just enough room to pass someone in the entrance area, and it would be impossible to pass someone whilst maintaining social distancing. There is a very obvious hand sanitiser station near the entrance, which is automatic so you don’t have to touch it to get your dose of sanitiser.

NHS Test and Trace app

There is a meet-and-greet service where you will be reminded of the need to wear your face-covering until you are seated.  At this point you will also be asked to use the NHS Test and Trace system to check yourself in, or there is a pencil and paper version if you do not have the NHS app installed.

If you haven’t already read it, we published a blog about the NHS Test and Trace app, which you can read here or watch our video where we discuss its main features.

Wetherspoons app screenshot

Using the Wetherspoons app

After sitting down at an empty table, I launched the app.  The first question was asking me which pub I was in – it correctly identified my location and provided a list in distance order of the Wetherspoons pubs nearby. I selected the Sedge Lynn, which was the first on the list.

The options for ordering were very well laid out, with five categories. The food category changes from Breakfast to Food, depending on the time of day you visit, the rest of the options stay the same. Once I had selected my food and drink, a pop up appeared asking me to select my table number. Once I had selected my table and tapped on checkout, I was asked for my email address to send the receipt to and payment details. On the second order, I was just asked to confirm my order as the email address and payment details were remembered. However, if you do not have passcode, fingerprint or face recognition to log onto your phone, the payment details need to be re-entered on every visit!

That was my order placed and shortly after, it was hand delivered to my table.

Accessibility of the Wetherspoons app

The process was very easy, and the app had a familiar feel to it.

Voiceover worked like a dream with the app! The lists and menu items were not too long, so navigation around the app using Voiceover, with the screen curtain on, was very quick. Unfortunately, changing the text size in the settings had no effect on the text size in the app. Although I tested the app on an iPhone 8, I was able to check out the Android app, which worked in the same way.

This is just one example of how the ‘new norm’ will probably look, with more of the experience of going for a drink or going for some food being performed through an app on your phone. On the whole, and with the exception of compatibility with large fonts, the Wetherspoon app is a good example of how easy the process can be.

Wetherspoons breakfast

Interested in finding out more about apps and technology?

At our monthly Tech Talk meetings we discuss the latest tech news, new ways to use existing tech, and personal knowledge and experience. The groups are a mixture of beginners and experts, and plenty of knowledge is shared around.

Due to current restrictions, these monthly meetings are being held virtually using the Zoom platform. If you would like to find out more about Tech Talk, please contact Richard Powell on 0161 786 3654 or richard.powell@henshaws.org.uk or Chris Garry on 0161 786 3665 or chris.garry@henshaws.org.uk

We can't do it without you

Henshaws rely on voluntary donations; our work just wouldn’t be possible without people like you. Your support empowers local people living with sight loss and a range of other disabilities to increase their independence, achieve their dreams, and go beyond expectations.

Donate now

Sarah
Sarah is the Marketing Manager with responsibility for Community Services across Greater Manchester, and the Knowledge Village.