As part of a project with Blackpool Transport and Disability First, the Passenger team were brought onboard to enhance our Things To Do feature, adding further accessibility information.
According to Disability Sport, there are over 11 million people in the UK with disabilities. With such high numbers of people affected by some form of disability, making our products accessible has always been a high priority. Accessibility is a necessity in the fundamental aim to make digital products usable for everyone. The Passenger team puts accessibility and inclusivity at the heart of design and product improvements. Working on a project with that mutual aim was a gratifying opportunity for us.
The truth about accessibility, is that the features can assist in different ways for different reasons; be it a digital feature on an app or a facility in a venue. It’s something we collectively as users should be utilising.
Knowing there is ramp access can be useful for both wheelchair users, and young families with prams, and knowing there’s an ambulant toilet could be beneficial for the elderly or those with young children.
We hope that these accessibility updates will assist those with mental illness as well as physical disabilities. Research by IAMAT indicates that those with anxiety disorders may feel more at ease when able to plan their experience in detail. Knowing when the bus will arrive and what facilities to expect at a venue could be the difference between a great day out and an anxiety attack. By giving the user more control, we want to empower them with the confidence to travel, where they perhaps, uninformed, would have decided against it.
About the Features
One of the new features available to users is ‘venue facilities’. Users can see ahead of time what is going to be available to them when they arrive. This includes:
- If there is seating at the venue
- Baby changing facilities
- Ramps and slopes
- Easy-access toilets
- Companion/Carer discounts
- Sign Language used
Through the journey of this project, we’ve learnt that having an easy-read option can help those with learning difficulties and those who may suffer from vision impairment.
Information is kept simple, concise and limited to only the information that matters when it comes to informing the user about that attraction.
British Sign Language is its own language, with its own grammar and sentence structure.
There is a varying range of knowledge of the English Language for the nearly 90,000 people in the UK who use BSL as their first language. According to a BSL Zone 2016 Report, many BSL users in fact have very low knowledge of both written and spoken English. Having BSL videos available for attractions provides information to those who use the visual language.
Bringing more people to local attractions
The purpose for these changes is to put the power and control into the hands of the user – on their phones or on their desktops. By giving disabled people the tools to plan journeys and confirm venue information, we hope we can empower those users to get on a bus and visit some of the incredible attractions and events Blackpool has to offer, from Madame Tussauds to Blackpool Grand Theatre.