App Updates for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Partners

We’re always working to make the Uber experience as hassle-free as possible for our riders and driver-partners. That’s why today we’re excited to announce app updates designed specifically for deaf and hard-of-hearing partners.

These updates incorporate suggestions and feedback from our partners as well as the National Association of the Deaf, the nation’s leading non-profit advocating for economic empowerment for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. While the changes themselves are small, we’re confident of the significant impact they can have for drivers and their riders.

What’s New

The following features are now being tested in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.—deaf or hard-of-hearing driver partners interested in these features only need to sign into their account and turn them on:

  • The Uber Partner app signals a new trip request with a flashing light in addition to the existing audio notification

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  • The option to call a deaf or hard-of-hearing driver is turned off; riders are instead given only the ability to text if they need to provide special instructions for pickup

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  • The app will add an extra prompt for riders to enter their destination and lets them know their driver is deaf or hard-of-hearing

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“The NAD applauds the efforts of Uber to promote increased work opportunities for deaf and hard-of-hearing drivers. Moreover, we commend Uber for enhancing their mobile app to improve communications between drivers and passengers, regardless of whether they are hearing or deaf.”

Howard Rosenblum, Chief Executive Officer, The National Association of the Deaf

“These Uber app updates showcase a demonstrated commitment to make addressing specific situations faced by the deaf and hard-of-hearing population a priority. For a community whose under or unemployment rates hover close to 50%, it is important to create opportunities particularly in the technology sector that enable flexibility and are designed with our community in mind. We are excited about these updates because we believe they will enable even more deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to find flexible earning opportunities.”

Don Cullen, Director of Public Relations, Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc.

This design process started from extensive conversations with our deaf and hard-of-hearing partners, which helped identify frustrating interactions with the app in the driving experience.

Larry is one of the drivers who participated in this process. Before these updates, he would text every rider to let them know he’s deaf, which sometimes caused delays when picking up his riders.

There are many partners like Larry. Watch the video to get a glimpse into their experience driving with Uber and to see how these app updates can improve it.

A broader rollout of these new features will be coming soon. We hope they help extend the earning opportunity that Uber presents to the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities. If you’re curious about what it’s like to drive with Uber, consider signing up to drive today.

Do you approach tough engineering challenges with the impact on real people in mind? Are you an engineer, designer, or product manager interested in civic innovation? Do you want to effect positive change in communities around the world? Then join our product innovation team in creating technological solutions to real-world problems. Get in touch with us at product-innovation@uber.com.
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