United Airlines has redesigned its mobile app with enhancements intended to make travel easier for people with visual disabilities. The app now has increased colour contrast, more space between graphics, and the way in which information is displayed and announced has been reordered to better integrate with screen reader technologies such as VoiceOver and TalkBack that can read aloud on-screen messages and notifications.
The restructuring of the way in which the information is organised on the app means that screen readers are better able to convert text to audio in the proper, logical sequence, allowing customers to better understand and navigate the app. According to the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center, more than 25 million Americans have self-reported travel-limiting disabilities.
“The parts of the travel experience that we all take for granted, like checking luggage, getting your flight status and accessing a boarding pass can still be a challenge for someone with a visual disability,” said Linda Jojo, United’s EVP for technology and chief digital officer. “These new accessibility enhancements are part of our continuing commitment to level the playing field, unlock all the customer benefits of our app and give people with disabilities more independence while travelling.”
Ray Campbell, a member of United’s digital team who is visually impaired and sits on the board of the American Council of the Blind, played a key role in helping redesign the app, and walks through how these changes make flying easier for him in this video.
“Optimising mobile apps for tools such as VoiceOver and TalkBack has been a game changer, allowing people with visual disabilities to fully utilise smartphone technology in their daily lives,” said Campbell. “It’s just as important for someone with a visual disability to easily access day-of-travel information and features as for any other customer.”