Uber has rolled out an update to its iOS app that enables riders to learn basic sign language on the go so they can communicate better with deaf and hard-of-hearing drivers.

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Uber announced the new feature in a post on its website, where it said the ride-hailing service had "thousands" of deaf drivers in the United States alone, and that the update was in support of National Deaf Awareness Month.

Riders will see a special card in the Uber feed. Once they tap it, they'll be taken to a page where they can select the basics, like "Hello" and "Thank You," or spell out their name. They'll then be given a GIF with the word(s) in ASL. That way, they can better communicate with their Deaf or Hard of Hearing driver, because signing "Thank You" or "Hello" in ASL can go a long way.


Uber has actually included interface features for its hard of hearing drivers for the last couple of years, such as flashing screens for ride requests instead of audible notifications, and allowing drivers to receive texts rather than calls. But the latest feature, which currently only works in the U.S., will surely come as a welcome addition.

The Uber app is a free download for iPhone available on the App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: Uber

Top Rated Comments

winglet69 Avatar
68 months ago
Big deal. I heard Lyft is adding Braille for their blind drivers.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ericus Macabeus Avatar
68 months ago
This is a really thoughtful and needed feature. Good job Uber.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JosephAW Avatar
68 months ago
Might be easier to text or use notepad.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
User008 Avatar
68 months ago
I didn’t think so either. Not completely deaf anyway. How do they hear sirens and horns in emergency situations?
You mean those big things ... WITH BRIGHT, FLASHING LIGHTS?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HacKage Avatar
68 months ago
While I agree that using text is simpler for the drivers, the passengers would be more impressed if the driver starting using ASL with them. It's the little things that lead to a good customer experience.
This is for the opposite way round though, for us, the riders to communicate better with the driver.

I'm not sure how much communication needs to go on, they already have the address you're going to, with Sat nav. Surely anything else it would be a lot easier to just open up notes rather than try sign, get it wrong, get frustrated and open up notes...
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rocco83 Avatar
68 months ago
I am not at all trying to sound like an ******, but I’d rather my driver keep their hands on the wheel.

I mean that about the non-deaf drivers as well. I have had some pretty close calls when my Uber driver wanted to turn around and talk to me, or just takes their hands off the wheel because they are one of those people that cannot convey their thoughts without a flourish of the hands.

I do not mind the conversation, but more often than not I just want to hop in the backseat and not engage anyone until I am wherever I am heading. Thank them for the ride, pay them, tip them, and off I go.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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