Don’t shepherd the blind

In response to Bernard Guly’s letter (MW last week), RNIB will not be creating a “special” shopping portal for blind and partially sighted people, because the visually impaired people who contact RNIB tell us that they wish use the same online shopping services as everyone else, and not to be shepherded towards an “online ghetto”.

While there are legal and ethical arguments for making websites accessible to people with disabilities, it is time for more companies to recognise disabled people as a market segment worth exploring and exploiting.

The RNIB informed Tesco that if every blind and partially sighted person in the UK did their Christmas shopping with the company this year, Tesco.com would stand to receive as much as &£190m in orders in a single week.

While their reasons for extending the Tesco.com service to everyone were many and varied, the knowledge that the company might be able to increase their potential customer base by 2 million must have been influential.

Julie Howell

Campaigns Officer (Internet)

Royal National Institute for the Blind

London W1W

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