Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Universal Design for a Blended Grocery Shopping Experience

How can shopping be made more accessible?
Research & Design Lauren Day, Vicky Anderson, Rory Bradley, Rory Mc Cormack
Supervisors Dr Hilary Kenna & Stefan Paz Berrios
Project Goal To provide an accessible and enjoyable shopping experience for four specific target customer groups.
Audience Four target customer groups: visually impaired; wheelchair users; elderly 65+; families living with Autism
Partners Musgrave Ireland and SuperValu
Duration Module Research Project (6 Weeks)
How can shopping be made more accessible and enjoyable for several clearly-defined customer cohorts?

Project Description

This Universal Design research project was conducted for Musgrave Ireland and SuperValu with the goal of making their grocery shopping experience more accessible and enjoyable for all of their customers, particularly those with specific needs. Students used design thinking and primary research methods to validate and document how customers felt and managed their grocery shopping. This customer-centred research process generated deep empathy with the customer experiences (figure 1), inspiring the students to design a wide range of innovative solutions for the four groups. Interestingly, the project began just before the restrictions of Covid-19 enforced a nationwide lockdown, which impacted the shopping experience of all customers. Below are the sample research outcomes created during the project.


Figure 1

Social Shopper app for elderly 65+ shoppers, designed by Lauren Day

Mobile app designed to address the needs of elderly shoppers with particular emphasis on social connection, a healthy diet, and being able to benefit from multi-buy offers through sharing the purchase with friends. It adheres to accessibility guidelines.


Figure 2




Voice-based shopping app for visually impaired shoppers, designed by Vicki Anderson

Winner, Technology Category Universal Design Award, Universal Design Grand Challenge Awards 2020  run by the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design at the National Disability Authority Ireland.


Mobile app driven by a conversational user-interface that enables visually impaired shopper to plan and execute their shopping with relative ease. Key features include the voice input shopping list, and a product scanning feature which uses the camera to scan the barcode of items that relays information about the product, ingredient, best before date, price etc. The app enables the customer to book an appointment for in-store assistance if required, and provides a notification to SuperValu when the customer enters the store. 



Gamified Shopping app for families living with Autism, designed by Rory Mc Cormick

Shopping with children who have Autism can be challenging, and families often prefer to plan their journey in advance and find active ways to engage their child in the experience. This app uses a treasure hunt style solution, and promotes planning the shopping trip with the child by encouraging them to create a shopping list in advance which is plotted on a graphic map for them to follow when they get to the store. The child helps to find items on their list in order to collect rewards such as fun facts and stickers. 



Store-Assist app for wheelchair users, designed by Clodagh Sheriden

A range of supports for wheelchair shoppers for a blended shopping experience combines online planning with an instore shopping trip. Key features include an item and aisle locator with accessibility information, bookable appointments with a shopping companion and online ordering for collection at the checkout.