Innovative Practice 2018 on Accessibility

Restaurant menu reading app for persons with visual impairment

Mopius is an IT start-up company based in Vienna, Austria, which has developed MenuSpeak, a barrier-free, multilingual application that helps people with visual impairments to choose food and beverage items from the menu in a café or restaurant. Currently, the app is used by more than 25 hospitality companies.

“MenuSpeak is an example of how new technologies can contribute to the inclusion of people with visual impairment. It is not an island solution for VIPs, but a meaningful service for all guests.”

Mr. Klaus HöcknerCEO Hilfsgemeinschaft
About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Restaurant menu reading app for persons with visual impairment
Organisation:Mopius Mobile GmbH
Country
of Implementation
Austria

FACTS & FIGURES

Since the start of the pilot project in December 2016,

  • 3,000 users have downloaded the app
  • The app has 440 monthy active users
  • The app had 25,000 visitors
  • The app offers its services in more than 45 languages.

PROBLEMS TARGETED

Many situations in the daily lives of people with visual impairments are challenging since most information is presented in a predominantly visual way, e.g., restaurant menus.

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

In order to for persons with visual impairments to overcome this barrier, Mopius Mobile GmbH has developed MenuSpeak. This app recognizes a user’s specific location through so-called iBeacons, which are Bluetooth transmitters installed in a location that communicate with a user’s smartphone.. It automatically shows the menu in any of more than 45 languages, and it can even read the menu out oud, if desired. The user then chooses from the menu and places his/her selected items in a virtual shopping cart. From the shopping cart, the app translates it back to the service personnel and then back into the local language. This also improves interaction between the facility’s staff and guests who are not familiar with the local language.
An image of the phone with the application open.OUTLOOK, TRANSFERABILITY AND FUNDING
MenuSpeak is designed to work in many locations and is currently being used in Austria and Jamaica (the contact with Jamaica was established at the 2017 Zero Project Conference), and the multi-language function of the app can be readily replicated in other countries. With the help of a Software Development Kit, the solution could be integrated into other existing apps and services.
The company is working on a self-financed, sustainable business model. To date, MenuSpeak has been funded by the parent company, Mopius, which has received financial support for marketing and promotion purposes from project partners Hard Rock Café Vienna, Café Wien Group, and the Community of the Visually Impaired (Hilfsgemeinschaft der Blinden) in Austria.
A person using the application in the restaurant.
CONTACT
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