There are many different types of access features and assistive technologies. Users and even professionals find the array bewildering and often just rely on a small set of features and technologies and apply them across users. This is not a full spectrum of what is available, and this set also tends to not be updated as new solutions become available.
The purpose of the Shopping Aid is to compare the user's personal preference profile and the full spectrum of access techniques and technologies. It then can present the user (or professional) with a listing of the different types of solutions, and a listing of the different specific accessibility products, accessibility or usability features in mainstream products, or public access tools that might be useful to the person.
If the person is new - it can also provide them with a temporary solution that is sufficient for them to use when exploring the other options.
This is a key component in the infrastructure. Its effectiveness both to users and to new developers comes from its neutral or 'level playing field' nature. The tool can provide a listing of everything across access vendors, mainstream technologies, and public tools. Combined with the "Unified Listing" and "GPII Marketplace" and its user rating system - it can provide users with the ability to explore all that is available, and to make them aware of new solutions from smaller vendors as well as tried and true solutions.