Uber update improves app for hearing-impaired drivers

Audio alerts are great...unless you're hearing-impaired, in which case they are near-or-totally useless. Visual alerts are the solution, but not many apps are designed to accommodate such needs. Uber has pushed out an update for its app that adds features for drivers who are deaf or have trouble hearing, and included among this are visual alerts rather than audible ones, and some changes on the rider's end to let them know that calling the driver isn't an option, as well as alternative ways to message the driver.

Uber detailed the update on its blog on Thursday, saying the app updates in part take into account feedback from its "partners" who have hearing impairment of some sort. Likewise, suggestions and feedback from the National Associated of the Deaf was also factored in, and the end result is small but significant changes that improve functionality for applicable users.

Thus far the new features are being tested with drivers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and D.C., though hopefully they'll be rolling out to all drivers once the kinks are worked out. Included among the changes are new alerts via a flashing light to complement the audio notification, allowing for both visual and audible awareness.

If the driver is hearing impaired, the rider will not be able to call the driver because the feature will be turned off. Instead, the rider will be able to text the driver anything the driver needs to know. Likewise, the rider will be seeing a prompt like the one shown above, alerting them that the driver is hard of hearing or deaf.

SOURCE: Uber Blog