Fare - a ride sharing company - approached my Rapid Prototyping class asking for fresh ideas on either the Accessibility issue or other capacities in which ride-sharing can be used (food, transporting large items, younger passengers).
I opted to explore more deeply the problem of accessibility within ride sharing, especially blindness. As technology grows and helps connect the world in unexpected ways, it is important and necessary to not exclude, especially unintentionally, groups of people. As many other companies strive to create experiences for accessibility users, I present my attempt and interpretation of how to start solving this problem.
Project Type: Product Redesign
My Role: UX Researcher & Designer
Tools: Sketch & Inivion
Project Duration: 2 Weeks
Project For: Fare
Create a positive experience for blind riders
Help drivers know and understand when a passenger has a disability
Understand the technical limits of text-to-speech
As with any new project, my first step is to do my best to understand or discover the problem at hand. In order to better grasp the issue of accessibility I read articles online of blind individuals who have struggled with ride sharing, I talked with students at the School for the Blind in Austin, and became better acquainted with the rules and regulations surrounding individuals with disabilities. Additionally I researched how other ride sharing companies are dealing with this issue. The main findings of this research - the unpreparedness of drivers for their passengers and the unfriendliness of the existing interface for the blind - helped me hone in on which part of the problem I wanted to tackle in our two week sprint.
Any project that I start begins with sketches, quick user testing sessions and many iterations.
In just under a week, I realized a first iteration of the sketches above. My goals were to:
Portray a new workflow, one without a map, for those who are visually impaired
Offer drivers a way to indicate their ability and willingness to drive accessibility passengers
Offer passengers a way to indicate their disabilities upon creation of account
Create an unspoken dialogue between driver and passenger
Begin the exploration of expanding Fare beyond passenger ride-sharing
In culmination of this project, I presented this redesign to the Fare team. The following was feedback received from the team:
Was the first to use the Digits sign up process, easy and simple. Well done.
Permanent Wheelchair, great idea – she seemed to do some good research on her ideas and how to implement them correctly.
List/Map View – really smart way of making Blind Passengers able to use the app.
Driver Walkthrough for ADA was great. Again, seemed to of all cases and how to make them easier.
Think about how to reduce amount of text on screen for text-to-speech.
There's always something to learn!
Understanding problems as complex as accessibility takes time and deserves time to be understood. So research, research, research!
Less is more - especially in relation to text information.
Aim for the MVP and focus on one problem at a time (but while keeping others in mind).