Menus that speak for themselves

Here's an app to help the blind and those with low vision to read restaurant menus and find eateries.

Published: 13th October 2016 06:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th October 2016 06:39 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The amalgamation of food and technology has been on the rise in Bengaluru. Many startups with innovative ideas have positively contributed to the city which has assisted Bengalureans to explore food.
One such idea is being explored in the city currently. GoodFoodTalks is a universally accessible restaurant menu . Anyone with difficulties in reading print - blind, people with low vision and senior citizens with diminishing vision can access it. It is said to be the first accessible restaurant finder and menu reading web app in India.
GoodFoodTalks was originally founded in March 2013 in the United Kingdom and is the brainchild of Matt Wadsworth and Kate Bennett Wadsworth. It was brought to India in January 2016 by Prashant Ranjan Verma, an accessibility specialist, trainer and disability activist.  

Prashant says, “I created Braille menus, recorded those of popular restaurants and created an audio book and  an eBook. I was doing all this from 2008 to 2014.”

He adds “Later I realised that these solutions were difficult to sustain. Every time a restaurant is changing prices or items, the braille or audio book could not be easily modified. Further, not everyone who has a problem with eyesight knows Braille. Later, I started working on GoodFoodTalks mobile-based solution in 2015 and finally launched it in Delhi in January 2016”.

Explaining how the platform works, Prashant says “Users can just tap the ‘Find restaurants near me’ button or use the search feature if one is looking for a particular restaurant. You will be presented with a list of restaurants with their address, phone number and distance from your location in an easy to navigate format. Tap on any restaurant name and you will be able to see the menu categories, cuisines and opening timings. GoodFoodTalks can also give you walking directions if you need. And all this can be read aloud by the screen reader on your device. People who have limited vision can enlarge the print, highlight buttons, and even invert all the colours”

It works both on wide screen and mobile phones and is fully optimi sed for screen readers. There are around 100 menus from Bengaluru on GoodFoodTalks.

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