Improving the taxi experience for the vision-impaired

On a recent trip to Canberra I noticed that taxis now have the vehicle number printed in braille next to the passenger door handles.

I have to say, I had never particularly thought about the taxi experience of a vision-impaired person, but like any other taxi cab customer, vision-impaired people may need to take note of the taxi number in order to report a complaint, find lost personal belongings or even register a compliment about the driver.

Close-up of accessible taxi markings

Close-up of accessible taxi markings

Although it may seem like a small improvement, this piece of information is one more useful tool to empower people with a vision impairment who often don’t have access to things many sighted people take for granted.

As user experience designers, we can do our bit to assist vision-impaired web users by ensuring our designs are compliant to accessibility guidelines (see the WCAG 2.0 guidelines or WebAIM’s handy checklist). Giving a little extra thought to colour choices, interaction methods, and text size (as well as other elements) will likely make a more accessible website.

And remember, good accessibility often improves search engine optimisation and contributes to greater usability for all.

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On a side note, if you live in Victoria, the Human Rights Commission is conducting a survey on the experiences of people with a disability using taxis until 26 February 2010. Get your opinion heard!

accessibility

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