Accessibility January 24, 2020
Zomato acquisition of UberEats makes it inaccessible to blind users
Zomato’s move to acquire UberEats has made many blind and low vision people unhappy. UberEats was among the few food apps to be fully accessible but now all users of the app are being directed to Zomato.
The acquisition of UberEats has given Zomato Media Pvt. Ltd an edge in the ongoing food fight with Swiggy but the blind community says they are the ultimate losers. UberEats, they say, was the preferred choice for better rates and because it was the most accessible to blind and low vision people.
UberEats was the most accessible among food apps
L Subramani, Copy Editor with the newspaper Deccan Herald and a visually impaired person is among those to articulate his disappointment. In a column, he said, “Uber Eats had been a very accessible option for someone like me, which means I could open the app and order food independently without needing anyone for assistance. While the whole world is moving towards independent living, even for people with disability, it’s rather astounding that some of these businesses choose to remain insensitive and don’t take any active interest in making their businesses open and accessible for people with disability”.
It’s a concern many others in the blind community share. Zomato remains inaccessible to them despite many petitions to its CEO Deepinder Goyal.
Mumbai lawyer Amar Jain says he wrote to Goyal in 2009-10 asking for the app to be made accessible but received no response. Amar, who is visually impaired, used UberEats extensively as well.
I used UberEast a lot. Working hours are erratic in the legal profession and at work everyone orders food online. UberEats was great because one could order independently. Given a choice, everyone prefers the one that is most accessible. Zomato, despite our constant attempts to reach out to the, remains inaccessible. I have been writing to Deepinder Goyal regularly about this but he has not responded at all. Now we are left with few options again. – Amar Jain, Lawyer
INACCESSIBILITY A RECURRING CONCERNS
Ahmedabad-based law student Maitreya Shah, who is blind, plans to petition Zomato once again. “I used UberEats frequently. I live in the hostel and travel a lot and UberEats came to the rescue often. I find Zomato inaccessible on Android and iOS phones and for me UberEats was the go to option. Swiggy is better than Zomato on the accessibility front but there are issues there as well. Without UberEats, life is going to be tough”.
This is not a new issue. Take PayTM for instance which has been called out repeatedly for becoming inaccessible every time there is an upgrade. Be it digital payments or hard currency, accessibility sadly, remains an afterthought.
“I do understand the challenges for Zomato”, says Amar. “It is much simpler for restaurant owners to click a picture of their menus and upload it on the app. But technology has solutions and it’s just a question of finding it”.
The challenge clearly lies in developing a mindset committed to finding that solution.
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