15% of the global population live with a disability, that’s about 3 in 20 people (source: WHO 2011), and rates are rising globally (source: JAMA Pediatrics 2019). “Disability” of course is a broad term. It could mean the person has different needs in regards to mobility, cognition, hearing, vision and/or other areas.
For any user planning a trip, it is important those needs and priorities being considered if they are to have a positive experience. Some require all parts of the trip to be barrier free, for others it might be useful to have audio guidance rather than having to look at a screen. There are people who prefer walking over taking crowded trains, and those who would rather speak than type where they want to go. Everybody wants to get to where they want to go safely and without hassle. As we want our apps to be valuable to everyone, everywhere, we’ve put in the hard work to ensure all of this, and more, is possible.
In the end, these updates benefit all users. There is much value in being able to choose exactly how to use and interact with an application, and users appreciate the flexibility. Our apps help users save money, time and hassle, be more independent and in control when planning their trips. They also point out healthier, more environmentally friendly and cheaper alternatives of travel, e.g. riding a bike, scooter share or public transport. Users can plan trips with any combination of transport modes in real-time, according to their preferences. The Agenda feature even plans trips automatically based on calendar events, intelligently choosing the best connections.
Current accessibility features
To navigate through the app, simple gestures like swiping and tapping are all that’s needed.
Buttons and menus are big enough and easy and use.
VoiceOver is supported extensively, so users can navigate from anywhere to anywhere with total confidence using the common gestures. No need to see the screen.
Our apps use clear fonts and contrasts to aid readability. The dynamic fonts also adapt to the user’s preferred size.
Plain, simple words make text easy to understand.
Icons and different colours help navigate the app intuitively, without needing to read all the words.
A device keyboard, external keyboard or dictation can be used to enter text like travel destinations.
Our apps works great on different screen sizes and in both landscape and portrait mode.
If increased contrast, reduced motion or light/dark mode is preferred, the app adjusts automatically according to the user’s device settings.
For barrier free routing, our apps have a wheelchair mode which does a few things if selected: It adapts public transport routing so wheelchair friendly vehicles are preferred, it adds wheelchair friendliness information to the route, and makes sure that if we know an escalator is broken the users gets notified and their route adjusted. Wheelchair accessibility information is shown for stops as well as services.
Cycle, walk and wheelchair roll speeds can be set to slow, medium or fast. This ensures that we estimate the right times for seamless and convenient connections between different legs of the trip.
Transfers: Users can increase the minimum transfer time to ensure they won’t miss their connection. The “convenience” preference can also be adjusted to minimise the amount of transfers, e.g. when the user has trouble getting into and out of vehicles or prefers to stay seated over arriving quickly.
Agenda: The Agenda feature offers tap-free, hassle-free intelligent trip planning. It automatically plans trips for the user based on their calendar events, and a reminder pops up when it’s time to go.
People with various (dis)abilities have tested our platform and given feedback which has helped us create the user friendly, accessible apps we have today. However, if there’s anything you think would further improve our apps, please let us know.
How is this used in practice?
Our apps allow users of all abilities to know what services are available to them, at what times they are available, and how much they cost. You don’t need to spend a lot of time making phone calls or researching on the internet.
One exciting project we are currently working on is a collaboration with Feonix – Mobility Rising. Feonix works with transit authorities, paratransit providers and local communities to bring mobility services to disadvantaged communities. SkedGo’s technology enables people in Southeastern Michigan for example to book rides on the paratransit system quickly and easily – a game changer for many users.
For more information on our collaboration with Feonix, have a look at this inspirational interview with Valerie Lefler, Feonix’ Executive Director and Founder.
Which apps are included?
Currently, the listed accessibility features are available in all SkedGo iOS and white labels apps. This includes the TripGo iOS app and WebApp (try them out if you haven’t yet, they’re free!). Our TripKit SDK for iOS supports all these features, too, and the core user interface component of the card-based UI is freely available under an Open Source license on GitHub as part of our TGCardViewController library. That way, we hope to bring these accessibility features to many more apps.
The current version of TripGo iOS (2021.5) and the current WebApp are also fully compliant with WCAG 2.0.
Work on getting all these features into our Android apps is underway, the fully accessible and WCAG 2.0 compliant Android app will be released soon.
Are there any more features planned?
Yes, we have lots coming up! Features we’re currently working on include crowdedness information for transport, footpaths and stations, and weather-sensitive routing. To stay up to date with the latest developments, you can subscribe to our newsletter.
Also published on Medium.