China’s e-commerce platforms make online shopping accessible for people with disabilities

Are you ready for the online sprint of Singles’ Day? Now, even more people can enjoy the largest online shopping festival in China as platforms make the online shopping experience more accessible for people with disabilities.

People with visual impairments can access items by double tapping the screen with the help of an optical character reader that can read descriptions on your mobile device.

By using their ears to shop, they can finish the whole process of making a purchase in about 7 to 8 minutes on Taobao, China’s largest e-commerce platform under Alibaba.

Alibaba in cooperation with Zhejiang School for the Blind launched China’s first cloud-based customer service in time for the Singles’ Day online shopping rush to enhance the experience for people with disabilities.

“Technology should empower those in need, and that’s a responsibility for China’s IT engineers,” Bu Jiajun, director of China Disabled Information and Accessibility Technology Research Center, at the launching ceremony of China’s first alliance to promote accessibility to smart office hardware on Oct 15.

This year, engineers with Alibaba also opened the door to visually impaired customers with discount hongbao or red pocket-snatching games on Taobao.

“It’s not about how much we can get in discounts. What’s important is that we have the same opportunity to play the games, and it’s enjoyable to know that we can compete with everyone else,” said a visually impaired customer surnamed Shen.

Besides empowering people with visual impairments, sellers are using sign language in the Taobao Livestream feature to sell directly to people with hearing impairments, which has become a new drive for e-commerce growth, hitting nearly 100 billion yuan in revenue in 2018.

Moreover, DiDi, China’s top ride-hailing company, and Meituan, China’s top food delivery company, have also introduced online services for the visually impaired to smoothen the consumption experience when ordering online.

Building a barrier-free design online is a primary goal in opening up the online world for people with visual impairments.

China has more than 17 million visually impaired people, among which, 90% expect more convenience and sense of participation in the development of technology, according to the latest survey from China Association of the Blind.

Source: People’s Daily