Uber, whose service links drivers and riders, recently upgraded its transit apps for easier access by drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing, after focus groups to explore the issues.
Drivers in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC have a visual alert plus an audible warning to new rider requests, which increases their trade. Riders connecting with a driver via the app, are advised that the driver is deaf, and asked to text their pickup and destination details via the app, instead of calling a driver’s phone.
This service upgrade is a win-win at several levels, not least that:
The primary obstacle [here] is for deaf people who drive for a living, [who] may struggle to communicate with passengers who don’t sign. In this case, “the use of texting in place of phone calls is critically helpful,” ~ Howard A. Rosenblum, NAD.
Riders get first-hand insights to the challenges faced by drivers who are deaf, while the drivers are providing part of the solution by sharing specific challenges. In engineering terms, this is a perfect situation for process improvement and service innovation, as we saw with Lyft drivers using smartphones with smart watches for communication.