Safran Passenger Innovations (SPI) has created a dedicated RAVE OS Accessible Mode designed to make its IFE systems more accessible for passengers with vision, auditory or motor-function difficulties. The software also makes the system easier to use for passengers in the neurodivergent community and those with cognitive disabilities.
SPI says it took a blank sheet approach to making the IFE accessibility features, and collaborated closely with customers, especially those with existing accessibility programs. This gave SPI access to dedicated specialists who participate in industry advocacy groups.
“As well as our own research, we worked with our customers’ accessibility teams to understand better how passengers with disabilities need to use IFE. The results were surprising, and it really challenged our conventional thinking and ultimately helped us build a more thoughtful product, designed around the concept of inclusion” said Eduardo Duran, SPI’s director of software products.
The RAVE OS Accessible Mode starts by asking each passenger a series of questions in order to personalise their mode. Configurations include language selection, a screen-reading function for passengers who are blind or have low vision, filtering to show only content with audio descriptions, theme colour selection for passengers with low vision or colour-blindness, and text based or image-based navigation to help passengers with cognitive disabilities navigate the system with ease. Once the passenger has configured the system, they are able to change their selections at any time via the settings menu.
A key principle of the RAVE OS Accessible Mode was to simplify the IFE interface and highlight the most important functions, allowing people with cognitive disabilities to navigate and enjoy the features of the entertainment system with ease. Menus are presented as large buttons with either large high-contrast text or icons, depending on passenger preference. Entertainment guide pages are presented using large icons with high-contrast text, with large touch areas and minimal steps required to launch content.
Critical functions for assistance, such as the cabin attendant call button and settings are present on every screen in the same prominent location, allowing passengers to easily call for assistance or change options. IFE must be even more intuitive than consumer products so the passenger can learn how to use the system during the first few minutes of sitting in their seat, and this principle was adopted when imagining the RAVE OS Accessible Mode.
SPI is now seeking feedback from airlines and disability advocacy groups to make further improvements prior to officially launching the product in 2024.