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United Redesigns App to Better Assist Visually Disabled

Redesign also includes faster processing, increased personalization options and more intuitive navigation

by Business Traveler

November 6, 2020

United Airlines has redesigned its mobile app offering customers with visual disabilities enhancements intended to make their travels easier. The redesign increases color contrast, adds more space between graphics and reorders how information is displayed.

By reorganizing the way the information is presented, screen readers are better able to convert text to audio in the proper, logical sequence to better integrate with the screen reader technologies like VoiceOver and TalkBack that read aloud on-screen messages and notifications.

“The parts of the travel experience that we all take for granted like checking luggage, getting your flight status and accessing a boarding pass can still be a challenge for someone with a visual disability,” said Linda Jojo, United’s executive vice president for technology and chief digital officer. “These new accessibility enhancements are part of our continuing commitment to level the playing field, unlock all the customer benefits of our app and give people with disabilities more independence while traveling.”

These changes make it easier for visually impaired customers to manage all aspects of day-of travel, including check in, viewing reservation details and flight status, bag tracking. Ray Campbell, a member of United’s digital team who’s visually impaired and sits on the board of the American Council of the Blind, walks through how these changes make flying easier for him in this video.

In addition to the accessibility changes, other enhancements found in the updated app include:

A refreshed account experience for MileagePlus members to easily check balances, track Premier progress, explore benefits, access past activity and more, all in one place.

A contextualized home screen now available to all customers which provides dynamic updates based on where a customer is in their travel journey. Previously this feature was only accessible to MileagePlus members.

The More menu has been reorganized and now contains an Inbox feature, which includes timely messages about boarding announcements, gate changes and other travel updates.

All of these changes are underpinned by a new back-end platform, which will ultimately make the app faster and more responsive. The airline’s app was last updated at the beginning of 2019.

The redesigned app is available for download today for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices (as an iPhone app) and for Android devices.