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Thu, 29 October 2020

United Airlines Makes App Easier for People with Visual Disabilities

United Airlines has redesigned its mobile app so that it is easier for people with visual disabilities to use.

Color contrast has been increased, more space added between graphics and the information provided better integrated with screen reader technologies like VoiceOver that are built into most handheld devices and read aloud on-screen messages and notifications.

By restructuring the way the information is organized on the app, screen readers are better able to convert text to audio in the proper, logical sequence, allowing customers to better understand and navigate the app.

United Airlines Boeing 787-10 reg: N91007. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

"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, Executive Vice President for Technology and Chief Digital Officer, United. "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 traveling."

Visually impaired customers will notice that the changes make it easier to manage all aspects of day-of travel, including check-in, viewing reservation details and flight status, bag tracking and more.

 Ray Campbell, a member of United's digital team who's 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.

"Optimizing mobile apps for tools such as VoiceOver and TalkBack has been a game changer, allowing people with visual disabilities to fully utilize 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. By improving the accessibility of the United app, we are truly living out United's mission of caring for all customers."

Beyond the accessibility changes, the United digital team enhanced the current offering with the following updates:

- For MileagePlus members, the app now features a refreshed account experience for members to easily check balances, track Premier progress, explore MileagePlus benefits, access past activity and more, all in one place.

- The airline is also expanding a popular feature previously only accessible to MileagePlus members. Now, all 37 million customers who have the United app will see a contextualized home screen starting 48 hours before their flight which provides dynamic updates based on where a customer is in their travel journey. For example, customers can see the boarding status of their flight on their homescreen, access personal device entertainment onboard with one click, find a link to a map with gate-to-gate directions for connecting flights and click a quick access button to track any checked bags upon arrival.

- United made slight tweaks to navigation based on customer feedback to make the app more intuitive, including making the bottom navigation persistent throughout the app. Another example is the "More" menu, which was reorganized and now contains the "Inbox" feature, which includes timely messages about boarding announcements, gate changes and other travel updates.

- Customers will notice a new color palette that's consistent with the refreshed branding the airline debuted in 2019. United's digital team also made subtle design adjustments to make things more consistent and easier to find, like always using a purple bar to highlight the main call-to-action on a page and ensuring alerts and flight status icons appear the same way in every page on the app.

- All of these changes are underpinned by a new back-end platform, which will ultimately make the app faster and more responsive.

The redesigned app is available for download today for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices (as an iPhone app) and for Android devices.

See latest Travel News, Video Interviews, Podcasts and other news regarding: COVID19, United Airlines, App.

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