One of the best transit apps out there, Moovit, has just made a pretty big update to both their iOS and Android versions which are part of version 4.10 and is launching today. The company has added in some accessibility functionality specifically for those that are blind, so they can still navigate public transit. Moovit mentions in their press release that there are nearly 40 million around the world that are blind. Many of them rely on public transportation to get around – obviously they can’t drive themselves. In this update, Moovit has integrated VoiceOver and TalkBack. VoiceOver is for iOS and TalkBack for Android. Which means now Moovit will reach more blind users than any of their competitors out there. The company goes on to say that users that have TalkBack (or VoiceOver for iOS) enabled, will be able to access every screen in the app.
TalkBack makes it pretty easy to navigate the app. Users just hold their finger on the phone with the app open, to be told which button is beneath their finger. With TalkBack enabled system-wide, this will work on the homescreen, notifications, and anywhere in the OS. By having the phone talk to them, they’ll be able to navigate the app easier and be able to plan trips using public transportation. Moovit talked with one of their users in Baltimore, Maryland who is blind, Larry Hale, who stated that “as a legally blind user of public transport, knowing when to exit the bus can be problematic”. Many who are not blind don’t really think about that, because we can all see exactly where we are, while on the bus and know when to get off. It’s a bit more difficult for blind users. Hale also says that Moovit takes out the guesswork for getting off the bus, as he now gets real-time notifications that tell you where you are.
Moovit is also looking to experiment with more accessibility features in the future, so that they can ensure that all of their users have a smooth experience while on public transportation. Whether they are blind, deaf or have another disability.