Whether you are employed, receiving Social Security retirement or disability payments, or living off your savings and investments, as a person with a visual impairment you are just as much a consumer as anyone else. You need to shop for groceries, clothing, furniture, pots, and pans the same as everyone else you know. You may have a sighted spouse who has taken over these chores, or perhaps you rely on family, friends, or a paid personal assistant to accompany you on shopping trips.
Believe it or not, a host of accessible shopping can be found online by using a computer outfitted with a screen reader, or a mobile phone running a built-in touchscreen reader. In this guide we will introduce you to just a few of the myriad online storefronts you can use to buy everything from a box of spaghetti to a suite of new bedroom furniture. Utilizing these resources can definitely enhance your independent living skills. Of course after you exercise your newfound shopping skills you are going to need to pay for your purchases, and you’ll want to know exactly how much cash you have left on hand. So we will wind up this guide with a discussion of online and app-based accessible payment options and banking.
For this guide we will assume you have at least some experience using either a computer with a screen reader or an accessible mobile smartphone. If not, we encourage you to check out Using a Computer with a Visual Impairment: A Beginner's Guide to Computer Accessibility and Cell Phones, Tablets, and Other Mobile Technology for Users with Visual Impairments.