Major advocacy groups for the visually impaired applaud Staples’ new initiatives designed to improve service to its customers with visual impairments. Staples will be improving its payment service terminals
at the in-store point-of-sale with tactile keypads to protect the privacy
and security of shoppers with visual impairments. The company will also
make improvements to Staples.com that will benefit customers with visual
impairments and other disabilities.
Today’s announcement is the result of collaboration between Staples and
major blindness organizations including the Bay State Council of the Blind,
the American Foundation for the Blind, the American Council of the Blind,
and the California Council of the Blind. These organizations praised
Staples’ initiative and urged other retailers to follow the company’s
Web Site Access
Today’s initiative includes Staples’ commitment to design www.staples.com in
accordance with guidelines issued by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) (www.w3.org/wai). The guidelines,
which do not affect the content or look and feel of a Web site, ensure that
Web sites are accessible to persons with a wide range of disabilities. The
guidelines are of particular benefit to blind computer users who use screen
reader or magnification technology on their computers and who rely on a
keyboard instead of a mouse.
“Web site accessibility is of critical importance to both the blind
community and to people with disabilities generally,” said Paul Schroeder,
Vice President Programs and Policy Group, American Foundation for the Blind.
“We applaud Staples’ commitment to address the accessibility of its Web
site, thereby improving the browsing and shopping experience for a broad
range of on-line shoppers.”
Staples will be adding tactile keypads to payment services devices
throughout the chain. The new units will allow Staples shoppers who have
difficulty reading information on a touch screen to privately and
independently enter their PIN and other confidential information. Staples
stores in Massachusetts will have the new devices by September of this year.
All stores in the country are scheduled to have the devices by the middle of
The new devices are designed to protect the financial privacy of shoppers
who are blind or visually impaired. The devices have tactile keys arranged
like a standard telephone keypad and work in conjunction with Staples’
existing point-of-sale terminals.
Blind community representatives praised Staples’ plan to enhance its payment
services devices. “Point-of-sale devices need to have keys with tactile
markings so people who are blind do not have to ask for assistance or share
their PIN with strangers,” explained Kim Charlson of the Bay State Council
of the Blind. “This settlement, and the collaboration that led up to it,
demonstrate Staples’ understanding of this fact and its strong commitment to accessibility for blind and visually impaired customers.”