Tappy Menu: Accessible Restaurant Menus for the Blind

When I’m in a new restaurant, I often have to pull out my iPhone and hope I find an accessible menu online. A new app might change that for those of us who are blind or visually impaired and for individuals with food allergies. It is called Tappy Menu, and is the only app that carries restaurant menus accessible to the blind.

Those with iPhones can use it with VoiceOver, one of Apple’s accessibility features for blind and visually impaired people. The person can listen to the available restaurants and (once they’ve chosen a menu) the different choices. Tappy Menu also includes the list of ingredients in each dish, which is helpful information for those with food allergies.

Looking at a restaurant menu is something most people take for granted. Those of us who can’t see find alternative ways of accessing menus and other print content – whether that be in digital format or having someone read it to us. Braille menus are rarely – if ever – available in restaurants. Furthermore, not everyone who is blind knows Braille, so even menus in this format don’t always help.

I strongly believe that this and similar apps can help, and even change, the way blind and visually impaired people access information. If more restaurants made their menus accessible on this app, me and countless others would not have to worry about how we will know what’s on the menu the next time we go out to eat. It will be a matter of simply pulling out our smartphone and listening to the many choices. People with allergies will also be more at ease knowing that a list of all the ingredients is readily available. You can read more about the app here.

How do you prefer to access menus as a blind or visually impaired individual? Do you prefer to read them online or have someone read out loud at the restaurant? Please comment! You can send any thoughts or questions to sandysview@chicagolighthouse.org.

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