Making a breakthrough into accessible technology for shops

15 March 2019

WESC Foundation has received the first prototype of a new piece of electronic ‘point of sale’ (EPOS), which experts hope will revolutionise accessible technology for disabled staff in the retail sector.

Our award-winning Social Enterprise team, three of whom are themselves registered as blind, already help till operators with visual impairment to access existing touch-screen technology by using appropriate colour contrast and braille screen overlays. The new APOS (‘audio’ point of sale) device will test the use of audio descriptions of till buttons and other functionality, adapting to the often-complex configurations demanded by today’s retail environment.

Andrew Roberts, WESC Foundation’s Head of Employability and Enterprise Development, said:

“Preparing our learners for the world of work is an important part of what we do at WESC Foundation, and some of those work experience opportunities are provided in the retail sector, including our own charity shops.

“APOS will allow the operator to hear audio descriptions of the till’s different buttons through a discreet earpiece, helping them to use the full range of the device’s functionality. After a trial in our own shops and at the eBay store here at the WESC Foundation campus we hope to be able to make the accessible technology commercially available.”

Support for the project comes from the “Tech for Good” programme, funded equally by Comic Relief and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

WESC Foundation has five social enterprise charity shops in Exeter and East Devon (including Sidmouth and Honiton). The tills are due to be deployed in the coming months.


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