In our continued effort to keep you up-to-date with projects, stories and trends from across the mobility sector. This month, to mark the anniversary of the launch of accessibility features for visually impaired and blind users, we revisit the project and hear from users to understand the impact for them.
Imagine using public transit if you’re blind or visually impaired. How do you read the train schedule or know when the bus is just a block away? For the more than 40 million blind people in the world, figuring out how to get around on public transportation can be a significant challenge. As Larry, a legally blind rider of public transportation in is his home city of Baltimore, Maryland, in the U.S., says,”Just knowing when to exit the bus can be problematic.”
Moovit is here to help. Prior to Moovit, no public transport apps provided additional support for the blind community to improve their experience when traveling in their city. Relying purely on driver and stations announcements was not a comprehensive solution. Last year Moovit made a promise to make its application more accessible to these users. Moovit has fulfilled its promise with new features tailored to the needs of blind and visually-impaired users.
In March 2016, Moovit made it possible for people living with blindness to use the Moovit app by making every screen accessible with VoiceOver for iOS devices and TalkBack for Android devices. To create such features Moovit worked with a blind developer, Adi Kushnir, who provided his own first-hand experience as a blind transit rider to help create this accessible integration and make sure that the app would fit the needs of blind users. With the accessibility integration, blind users simply hold their finger on their phone screen to hear which button or icon is beneath it. This helps them navigate more seamlessly through the app, and allows them to plan trips on public transit with ease. With the enhanced Live Directions feature, they get step-by-step GPS-style guidance for their entire journey and even receive alerts when the bus is arriving or when it’s time to get off.
The Impact – Perspectives from Moovit Users One Year On
During the past year Moovit has received feedback from all corners of the globe about the integrated accessibility features. For example, Leonardo, a Moovit user from Franco de Rocha in Brazil told us, “The change in the application’s usability with the accessibility implementations was really a 95% overhaul and I’ve never seen a development team improve an application so much as Moovit did.” Sam, another Moovit user from the East Midlands in the UK told us about his newfound freedom as a result of the features, “If I need to travel to an unfamiliar area, I can simply open Moovit and plan a route from my door to the destination.” After using the new accessibility features, Larry from the US described his experience, “The app takes the guesswork out of knowing when to exit the bus with real-time notifications that inform you of when you’re getting close to your desired destination…I know exactly when to exit the bus, hence enhancing my independence…”
Incorporating accessibility features and enabling every user to enjoy a smoother journey is important to us at Moovit and we’re always looking for new ways to enhance the application’s utility. If you have any thoughts on how we can support more people through the application, send us your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org