How Lloyds Banking Group has used mobile app to help blind and low-sight customers
Having recently completed a major insight and strategy project for RNIB and Guide Dogs, to help them understand public perceptions of blind and visually impaired people, the challenges of blind and partially sighted people are very close to our heart. So learning about a great new initiative by Lloyds Banking Group aimed at just this target audience made our hearts sing.
Using a smartphone app called BeMyEyes, the banking group - which includes Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland - is connecting sighted volunteers with strangers who need visual assistance. Already, they have connected 6,000 blind and visually impaired people with around 100,000 volunteers in Britain.
People using the service can request help with everyday tasks and activities, including things like reading street signs, selecting clothes that don’t clash and checking cooking instructions on food packaging. Help is delivered though video calls that typically last no more three minutes.
The banking group’s staff are also on hand to help their blind and visually impaired customers with tasks such as confirming online payment sums and requesting statements.
The challenge for blind and low-sight people in reading small fonts, long numbers and and combinations of numbers and characters (eg bank sort codes) is prevalent, so this use of mobile technology not only helps them overcome major hurdles when banking, it creates stronger human connections that help mental health and well-being. People that only recently lost their site or developed problems can often feel anxious and depressed, and learning new technology adds to this. So the combination of technology and people is an excellent way to tackle the problem in a human-centred way.
Technology, and especially mobile apps, have the potential to change lives and improve accessibility in many ways. But often, the challenge of learning and adoption is one that negates the benefits. Lloyds - the UK's largest digital bank - have clearly given this some thought and created a game-changer.