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New accessible ATM app points users in the right direction

A new app that helps blind and visually impaired users track down accessible ATMs has been launched.

The free LINK ATM Locator lets users search for cash machines that have a range of usability features, including: audio assistance; wheelchair access; free-to-use ATMs; £5 note dispensing; mobile phone top-up facilities; and PIN number management.

The app then tells users where to find the nearest ATM based on their requirements and guides them to the machine through Google and Apple Maps, via a walking, driving or public transport route.

ATM network operator LINK and sight loss charity Thomas Pocklington Trust developed the app together after the Trust approached LINK in 2016 to discuss the idea. LINK confirmed that it was already looking into such an app and began working with the Trust.

Thomas Pocklington Trust then carried out user-testing with blind and visually impaired users, to ensure the app’s accessibility with Apple and Android screen-readers.

Mary Buffee, Head of Consumer Affairs at LINK, told e-Access Bulletin more about how the app works with these screen-readers: “Certain adaptations have been made to the app when VoiceOver or TalkBack are switched on. For example, a list view of ATMs is created and read aloud, starting with the ATM nearest to the user, as opposed to a map with icons that is displayed for sighted users.”

As well as locating their nearest ATMs, users can also search for cash machines in a different area and report machines that don’t work properly or fail to provide stated accessibility features.

Speaking about the feedback function, Buffee said: “There are a range of areas customers can give feedback on, from ATM location to the safety and security of the machines … LINK will listen to feedback from customers and consumer groups about the app, and will look to develop it in the future if there is a specific consumer need.”

Users can also leave positive feedback and save specific ATMs to a ‘favourites’ list. The LINK Locator app then alerts users when they pass a favourite ATM.

Marsha de Cordova, Engagement and Advocacy Director at Thomas Pocklington Trust, told e-Access Bulletin that the Trust was thrilled to work with LINK on the app. She said: “It is vital that technology is accessible. LINK involved the Trust at every stage of development, ensuring that accessibility remained a priority, and they have been open to all of our suggestions and feedback. We hope that other organisations follow in LINK’s footsteps to make sure apps are accessible to all.”

Download the app for Apple devices at the Apple Store: .

Download the app for Android devices at the Google Play Store: .

Read more about Thomas Pocklington Trust at the charity’s website: .


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