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Sight for Wight adds “Hello Everyone”, audible QR code, for Hovertravel

(6 November 2020) Sight for Wight, the Isle of Wight independent charity dedicated to providing information & support to visually impaired Islanders, has launched an innovative new technology designed to help customers understand more about the Hovertravel experience and its current COVID precautions.

Lisa Hollyhead, CEO of Sight for Wight, explains: “as someone born with 88% sight loss, I have found the huge number of physical COVID secure changes made in, what were, very familiar surroundings, difficult to judge.  I knew voice was the way to help resolve this but how to turn a poster into voice was the challenge. Lockdown allowed me to research to resolve this and “Hello Everyone” was born.  Our audible QR codes provides audible guidance giving a basic layout, where to go and what to avoid in any building or environment.

As a regular user of Hovertravel, I approached them and described, from a visually impaired person’s point of view, how different the terminal was compared to my usual journey. They responded immediately and both terminals are now installed with the “Hello Everyone” QR Codes. Hovertravel now has an audible guide to help people through the terminal and onto the crafts using a simple voice.”

The system is based on the idea of utilising QR codes (two-dimensional barcode) which are scanned using the camera on a smartphone equipped with QR reader software. This software decodes the barcode to a URL and directs the phone’s browser to fetch an audio file from the Web that contains a verbal description of the environment. The information is expected to be useful in real-time interaction with customers who want to understand more about the Hovertravel experience.

Both terminals at Ryde and Southsea, the craft environment and the COVID-secure measures are all described in detail in the audio file, providing the Hovertravel passenger with an accessible layer of information about their surroundings.

Neil Chapman, managing director of Hovertravel, adds: “We were approached by the team at Sight for Wight with feedback about our service and this very simple but effective concept was suggested. Any smartphone will scan this QR code and then the customer presses play to listen.

Throughout this pandemic we have been keen to give customers confidence that Hovertravel is safe and secure, and this project is a valuable addition to our customer communications.  We are very grateful to Sight for Wight’s suggestion and assistance in making this innovation a reality. It is another great example of two Island organisations working together for the good of all travellers.”

Sight for Wight also supports the families, friends & carers of visually impaired Isle of Wight residents. Membership is free to all Islanders affected by sight loss. For more details, please visit: https://www.sightforwight.org.uk/