Leading mobile subscriber Safaricom, today rolled out one of the first websites in the country that puts the needs of the visually impaired at the core of its development.
Safaricom’s website has been reconfigured to cater for their needs having the system explain the pictures on the screen for the blind. ‘A man dressed in Maasai regalia smiling at a phone in his hand after a successful M-PESA transaction’ by the use of the cursor keys to move between various tabs, Nelson Otieno a student at Thika school of the Blind who listens intently to the voice that comes through his headphones gets the explanation from the system and is in a position to understand exactly what appears on the screen.
“This one is much better. It’s better organized and while I can’t see pictures; at least I have and idea of what they are,” Explains Otieno addressing Safaricom Corporate Affairs, Director Nzioka Waita.
On the homepage he moves to the shop tab, presses down the enter key and is taken to that page. Then he uses the space bar to check and select his price range for a phone, the operating system manufacturer and style.
“There are over 300,000 persons with visual impairments, in this country and we want them to compete effectively in the market place. That means allowing them to function with ease on the cyber sphere,” Waita explained
Safaricom targets to serve up to two million customers by upgrading the system to identify the users location and have it link you up to the nearest shop, get information on stock availability, place an order and Lipan a M-PESA online, have the device reserved and picked at your location. The telecommunications company has plans underway to roll out a digital campaign worth ksh100million on to drive traffic to their website.
Safaricom has spent over sh15 million over the past few months widening its online demographic to include the visually impaired.