Do you do mystery shopping?
Our approach is almost the opposite of mystery shopping. Retailers want more customers, and they want satisfied customers. So giving them the opportunity to give essential information to their potential customers will help them get more of those satisfied customers, namely - us!
However, this doesn't stop you or any of us disabled people doing a bit of "mystery shopping" video, especially if we want to draw attention to really good ideas - one benefit is that we can share what we have found useful ourselves. If you feel like it, you could start by doing a review of a piece of equipment of your own - get someone to video you using it, show off its good features? What changes would you like to make to it? How does it perform? Does it live up to the manufacturer's promises? How does it compare with alternatives you have tried?
Do you take the video?
No. One of the big benefits of retailers /suppliers / providers doing it themselves is that by making the video they will walk through their premises (literally) or their product (metaphorically) and try to assess what aspects might be problematic for disabled people.
My business cannot be made wheelchair accessible, so how can I be expected to take a video?
Not all disabled people are wheelchair users. Not all wheelchair users are completely unable to walk. Perhaps I want to visit a quaint old little out-of-the-way specialist shop. I doubt if it is wheelchair accessible, but I'm not sure. If I can see video of it, especially if I can see how close I can park, I can decide whether I will take a walker and sticks with me instead, so if I feel confident enough on the day I will venture up the steps, as maybe I can see from the video that there's a good handrail. By indicating on the video when the quietest times are, and that staff are able to bring goods out to the customer, even if I can't get up the steps I won't have a wasted journey.
As an example, Bewilderwood's video clearly states that not all parts of the attraction are suitable for disabled children, but by showing what the experience is like, you and I can judge for ourselves. If a prospective visitor needs more information the video makes a good starting point for asking any questions over the phone.
What do I need to take a video?
Do you have a smart phone? If so, then you have all the equipment you need, so long as you can connect it to a computer.
How do you expect blind people to watch a video?
If you are able to do a commentary with your video, it's helpful to describe briefly the important information that would otherwise be conveyed visually, eg "Now I have reached the lift" or "The door is quite heavy". It's worth writing out a script beforehand, so even if you don't follow it exactly, you have a greater chance of making as good a job of it as you can. Don't forget to add the script into the box for the main text on our submission form. It's also worth putting the script onto the site where you are uploading the video. YouTube makes its own transcript but it is so problematic as to be frequently incomprehensible.
We need your feedback!
Do like us on Facebook, and stay in touch. There is potential for a community to build up around the idea, because although we have a wish list for how it might grow, what's important is how all the users of the website engage with it, and what will be useful to everyone.