United Airlines has incorporated EZ Access® technologies into their new self-service kiosks to better ensure that the kiosks are accessible to all travelers.
According to Jaymes Todero, United’s eCommerce Product Manager, “United strives to be an industry leader and a big part of our product and core values is focused on accommodating our customers. So, with our new self-service kiosks, United’s goal was to be as accessible as possible to as many people as possible given today’s current technology.”
“We chose to implement EZ Access into our kiosks because it’s not limited to a single disability,” added Todero. “We found it to be the best solution available that can accommodate customers with a broad range of disabilities including those with sensory and mobility impairments.”
As part of United’s investigations into available technologies, Todero went on to share that his project team, which included Sherry Shen, United’s Senior Manager of IT Development Applications, first traveled to Madison, WI over a year ago and visited the Trace Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where EZ Access was developed. Wanting to better learn about the benefits of a full EZ Access implementation, his team met with the two EZ Access inventors, Gregg Vanderheiden and Bern Jordan, along with Bruce Winkler of Assistra Technologies. They were given a demonstration about the various features EZ Access provided, and his team was shown how flexible and easy EZ Access is to implement.
“The new kiosks are truly the result of a multi-team effort that spanned months of research and testing,” said Todero “Along with Assistra Technologies, we attained the counsel of Ray Campbell, Accessibility Analyst at United Airlines, who imparted his expertise and feedback regarding accessibility for the blind community, and we also partnered with Tech for All who did an excellent job creating user interface patterns and concepts that United’s development team implemented. In addition, TFA’s team worked with United throughout the development process to evaluate the experience for users with disabilities. Assistra was later brought in to enhance the kiosks functionality and implement EZ Access. What’s more, Assistra’s EZ Access Certification Inspection report was very detailed and easy to understand. It provided concise explanations of issues that would prevent our kiosk from being cross-disability accessible and clearly explained the techniques required to fix them. Assistra was an additional set of expert eyes that provided a keen and judicious overview, adding unique techniques and technologies to our arsenal.”
Todero went on to compliment Shen, along with her team of developers, saying she did a fantastic job ensuring that EZ Access could be implemented using their existing kiosks to make the project both practical and economical. He also noted that Assistra was flexible and responsive when working with his team and that the new Trace designed linear keybar was perfect for United’s application. “With the linear keybar we could use our existing kiosks without the need for special milling or changing our kiosk’s real estate. All we needed was a new front face. Other keypads would have required us to locate them off to the side which is awkward and not as ergonomically desirable,” said Todero.
According to Bruce Winkler, Assistra Technologies’ Managing Partner, “We are really excited United instituted a full EZ Access implementation and was certified. In many situations, people with disabilities are finding themselves in the position of needing to educate themselves about a kiosk’s technology every time they approach a new self-service kiosk. One of our goals with the suite of EZ Access® technologies is to strive towards consistency and simplicity, and thereby achieve maximum accessibility by those with sensory, mobility or cognitive impairment. We’re confident that United’s EZ Access implementation will ensure that their new kiosks are not only ADA and Section 508 compliant, but that they are at the forefront of their industry when it comes to accessibility.”
The new self-service kiosks that incorporate EZ Access® technologies have been initially installed at United’s Orlando, FL and Hartford, CT terminals, with additional kiosks to be rolled-out as United renovates lobbies and as existing kiosks are retired.