This email from Uber hit my inbox this morning and impressed me in my half-sleep haze. The Deaf community is one of special interest to me since starting American Sign Language classes in college. As I looked over the new features listed I thought about how often we overlook the Deaf community and was reminded that a large part of that has to do with visibility; out of sight, out of mind. Even I, someone who’s usually more aware and more sensitive to the needs of differently abled individuals than the average person, failed to notice the missing accessibility features.
Outside of ABC Family’s Switched at Birth I can’t think of the last time I saw a deaf or HOH character on TV, in commercials, or media in general. There was that one SVU episode guest starring Marlee Matlin, way back in the day. As we work to increase visibility and fight for equity in accurate media representations we have to actively work to be inclusive of the communities that we may not directly be apart of but are just as underrepresented.
Check out the new features Uber launched for their Deaf and Hard-of-Hear partners below.
Recently, we’ve been working together with the Deaf community to create app improvements for our deaf and hard-of-hearing partners. Today, we’re excited to introduce these new optional features, which improve both the way the app works for you and the way you’ll interact with your riders.
Flashing Trip Requests
The Uber Partner app can now signal new trip requests with a flashing light in addition to the audio notification.
Turn on flashing trip requests in the Uber Partner app:
Open the app’s Settings
Check the box next to “Use flash for requests”
You can also turn on a setting that changes the way communication works with your riders. This feature will:
turn off calling so riders will text you if they need to provide special instructions for pickup
add an additional prompt for riders to enter their destination
automatically let riders know you’re deaf or hard of hearing before they get in your car