Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Use Facebook Messenger to Book a Ride with Lyft or Uber

Facebook recently added a very useful service to its Messenger app, an app you can use even if you don’t have a Facebook account.

Messenger now allows you to book a ride with Lyft or Uber directly through Messenger as long as the particular service is available where you live. Facebook says the following about its new offering: Today, we’re expanding the services available to you with our launch of transportation on Messenger. With this new feature, you can request a ride from a car service without ever needing to download an extra app or leave a conversation. It’s super easy and doesn’t take you away from the plans that you’re making with your friends or family.

Admittedly it is rather difficult to spot the location of this service in the app; I located it while browsing the newest version. In order to utilize this service, you must open up any conversation you are having in Messenger.

Once you do this, flick down past the options for text, camera, etc. Locate the “more” option and double tap it. You will see several choices; “transportation” is one of the first choices. Double tap it when you locate it.

Next we find the one accessibility issue with using this service. It is one, though, that you can work around even if it is rather annoying. As you flick to the right, once you hear the “like” option, you can flick two more times. When you do, each time you hear only a click sound, the sound you hear when you try to do something and your phone’s screen reader is locked up or moving slowly. It is different from the bonk sound you hear when you have reached the final item in a list; it is a barely audible click. Fortunately, even if you have trouble hearing it, you should be able to remember that after “like” are two options with only the click as feedback.

The first click represents Lyft; if you double tap after hearing that first click, a screen comes up allowing you to sign up for or sign into Lyft without using or downloading the app. You get messages about the driver’s whereabouts and whatever else you need to know.

If you flick twice past “like”, you reach Uber’s icon; double tap it and notice a very similar screen with the same options and functionality.

You may receive a free ride for using this service if you are a new user of Lyft or Uber; existing users do not get this free ride at this time. Again, you can request the ride without downloading any other apps and without interrupting your conversations on Messenger.

The services, of course, are available only in areas served by Lyft or Uber. Check and to get this information.

Remember you can take advantage of this service through the Messenger app itself; you need not have a Facebook account.

Messenger continues to add new features; if any others are added that may benefit the blind or visually impaired community, we may highlight them here also.

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