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Google Maps Rival Gets Accessibility Navigation Feature, Surprisingly Useful for Everyone

One of the most important components of navigation software out there is the support for audio guidance, as this feature allows drivers to keep their eyes on the road without having to look at the screen to figure out which way to go.
Enhanced Visual Cues 7 photos
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But in the case of deaf drivers, relying on such capabilities is obviously impossible. Building a deaf-friendly navigation system doesn’t seem to be a priority for too many companies out there, yet a Google Maps competitor has recently made such features happen in one of its free apps.

Navigation specialist TomTom has updated its AmiGO navigation app with support for accessibility features specifically aimed at people who are hard of hearing.

And the way the whole thing works is as straightforward as possible.

The parent company explains that the idea of developing such a navigation mode came from a TomTom software engineer whose girlfriend is deaf and couldn’t use the standard audio guidance bundled with the app.

So they came up with the so-called Enhanced Visual Cues, which come down to flashes that are displayed on the screen when audio instructions would typically be spoken, such as when you need to take a turn.

The flashes aren’t intrusive enough to make drivers take their eyes off the road but are still obvious in a way that the person behind the wheel should notice them in their peripheral vision.

For instance, transparent arrows are displayed on the screen when the driver needs to take a turn. A short white flash is used to warn of a camera.

TomTom’s AmiGO currently comes with an early version of this concept, so it only includes turn warnings, turn signals, and arrival alerts. But the work on more capabilities is currently underway, so the Enhanced Visual Cues should evolve more in the coming updates.

In the meantime, it doesn’t look like too many companies are working on similar capabilities, and Google Maps, for instance, is lacking such a mode for now.


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