Things to ponder:
Do boxer shorts box?
Why do you wear a pair of panties and only one bra?
Fact of the day;
Pentheraphobia is the persistent fear of your mother-in-law.
The ostrich doesn't stick its head underground to hide from predators. It
bends its neck down low and flattens its head against the ground.
Focus on the Hospitality Industry, Part 2: Using Your iOS Device to Book a
Janet Ingber from Access World Magazine
In the <http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw160206> first part of
this hospitality industry series,
Found at this link:
we looked at booking rooms on the <http://www.marriot.com/> Marriott and
<http://www.hyatt.com/> Hyatt websites. In this installment, we'll review
iOS apps for Marriott,
InterContinental Hotels Group,,, and Hilton Worldwide.
Accessible hotel apps allow someone with a visual impairment independently
make hotel reservations from anywhere he or she has cell phone access. For
this evaluation, we used VoiceOver on an iPhone 6 running iOS 8.3.
8> Marriott Mobile App
Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple Watch. Requires iOS 8.0 or
This app is for use with Marriott and its subsidiaries, such as Courtyard
and Residence Inn.
This is the first Marriott app listed in the iTunes App Store. The second
app is Marriott Guest Services, which is for those who are members of the
Marriott Rewards program
Once the app is installed, VoiceOver will say "Marriott" whenever it is
selected. The first time the app is opened, you are presented with a picker
to choose pages one through four and a Skip button. No matter which page you
select, VoiceOver will not read any text. There is text displayed that
provides a tour of the app, but the text is not accessible with VoiceOver.
When the "Skip" button is activated, a new page loads with some form
controls. The first is an edit box for your E-mail Rewards Number and the
second is for your password. The next control is a "Join" button. When you
select the "Join" button, VoiceOver reads the text about the benefits of
joining. The final control is a "Skip" button. If this button is activated,
a new page loads to start the booking process.
By default, the app assumes you want a room the same day and you want to
find a location near your current one. If these defaults are correct, you
simply need to navigate down to the "Find" button. The next screen will
contain a list of options. This feature is particularly useful if you are
stuck at an airport and need a hotel room.
If you need a room for different dates, navigate to and select "More Search
Options." When the new page loads, an edit box says, "Current Location." You
will have to delete those two words from the edit box prior to entering a
destination. Then, flick right and VoiceOver will speak the city if any
hotels are in the area. Next, activate the "Done" button in the upper right
On the next page, you pick dates for your stay. This can be difficult
because the days of the week are only read at the beginning of each month;
they are not repeated as you move through a given month. You may also need
to slide your finger around the screen to find the month you're looking for.
When you find your arrival date, double tap on it and do the same on your
departure date. Then activate the "Find" button on the bottom of the screen.
To refine your search further, activate the "More Search Options" button.
This page allows you to indicate a variety of options, including specific
Marriott subsidiaries and the number of guests, along with information on
special rates. Then you can go back to the "Find" button and activate it.
The next screen shows your dates and a list of available hotels for those
dates. Rate information is provided under each hotel name.
Double tapping on a hotel name brings up a details page with links to
information such as the overview, amenities, and transportation options. The
page also contains the hotel phone number and address.
To begin the selection process, activate the "Rates" button for the hotel
listing. The next screen will contain information about rates and different
rooms. Double tap the room you want. Select room preferences--such as type
of bed, roll-in shower, room location, and early check-in--on the new page.
Then, activate the "Continue" button on the bottom of the screen.
If you are not a Marriott Rewards member, you will complete a registration
form on the next step. If you are a member, skip the registration and sign
in with your user name and password. The registration form is
straightforward: you first enter personal information such as name, address,
and e-mail address, then you enter credit card information. On the first
part of the credit card form, you choose a credit card type. The picker for
this selection and the picker for the expiration date are located at the
bottom of the page. Activate the "Continue" button to get to the final part
of the reservation process.
When the next page loads, information about the reservation is clearly
displayed. At the bottom of the page is a button to cancel the reservation,
which will bring you back to the "Find a Hotel" page.
The Marriott app is not completely accessible with VoiceOver. The developers
need to make the first four pages accessible so that users with visual
impairments can receive the same app tour available to users with sight. In
the dates calendar, each month should be easy to locate and VoiceOver should
speak each day of the week when using the calendar.
mt=8> InterContinental Hotels Group
Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch Device. Requires iOS 7.0 or
This app is used for IHG hotels including InterContinental Hotels & Resorts,
Holiday Inn, and Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts.
When the app is selected VoiceOver says, "IHG Registered Sign." The home
screen has text accessible via VoiceOver, and there is a
"Homescreen_Find_Hotel" button. After the first time the app is opened,
other buttons may appear on the first screen, but they are labeled. You
might need to use a rotor character setting just to understand exactly what
VoiceOver is saying.
When the "Homescreen" button is activated, the next page has a form for
choosing arrival and departure dates. By default the current date is listed.
Double tapping on the date loads a new screen similar to the one in the
Marriott app. However, this version is easier to read, especially the names
of the months. Double-tap on your arrival and departure dates. Next,
activate the "Done" button in the upper right corner.
When the new page loads, your arrival and departure dates will appear at the
top of the page. There will be other boxes for the number of rooms you'd
like and how many guests will be in a room. The boxes are located towards
the top, but quantities are selected with pickers at the bottom of the page.
Unfortunately, the picker numbers did not transfer accurately to the edit
boxes. For example, changing the number of guests from the default of 1 to 2
with the picker resulted in no change in the number entered into box. With
sighted assistance, I discovered that, with VoiceOver off, the correct
number was indeed entered in the box. The next step is to enter a
destination. Possibilities are listed as you type. Double-tap on the
destination you want. The next page will display a list of hotels and rates.
Double-tap on a hotel listing and the next page will have information about
the hotel including address, amenities, and a general overview. It may be
necessary to flick around the page, both right and left, to find everything
listed. At the bottom of the hotel's first page is a link to book a room.
The page for choosing a room had significant accessibility issues. The text
describing each kind of room was clear but not accessible with VoiceOver.
For example, the text said "Room 1," but VoiceOver couldn't read the
description on the page. Activating the unlabeled button for that page did
bring up a description for the room. It was necessary to activate all the
buttons to determine what was available. Once a room was chosen, another
page loaded with a description and what appeared to be a series of buttons
with letters. For example, "IVANI" was what VoiceOver read, but there was
text that VoiceOver couldn't read that described the function of the button.
One button was for a special rate with a nonrefundable deposit. Another was
for a points upgrade. The only way to determine what each button said was to
activate each one, and even then, all information was not clear. Once I
selected the appropriate button, I couldn't find where to indicate that it
was my final choice. With sighted assistance I learned that there were
options to sign in or continue as a guest, but VoiceOver could not read this
text. I flicked around and double tapped on the word, "name." This brought
me to a guest information form. All edit boxes were labeled. Credit card
type and expiration date were done with pickers at the bottom of the page.
The "Done" button is at the bottom right of the screen.
The rest of the information was accessible.
This app is not accessible with VoiceOver. Although some limitations may be
excusable, such as the calendar (which as with the other two apps reviewed
here, does not read the day of the week as you move through the dates), so
much of the app is inaccessible that sighted assistance is required to use
it. The developers need to do a major overhaul, including fixing the pickers
for choosing number of rooms and guests, and appropriately labeling buttons
so VoiceOver and provide accurate information to the user with a visual
impairment. This app is definitely not an option for voiceover users.
<https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hilton/id337937175?mt=8> Hilton (Hilton
Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Requires iOS 7.0 or later
This app covers additional hotels including DoubleTree and Embassy Suites.
When the app is selected, VoiceOver says, "Hilton.".
When the app launches, there are four options on the screen: Find a Hotel,
Reservations, Account, and Call Us. These options can be read by flicking
with one finger. There is a "Join" button in the upper left corner that can
be read by tapping that location. In the upper right corner there is a
button labeled "Menu Icon." As with the "Join" button, it is necessary to
place your finger on the screen to get VoiceOver to read it. This "Menu
Icon" menu gives information about privacy and cookies.
When the "Find a Hotel" option is selected, the next screen has options to
Sign In or Join. Underneath these two options there is an option labeled
"Hotels Near Me." This is actually an edit box. Under the words "Hotels Near
Me" is a button labeled "Icon ClearText." Once the button is activated, you
are prompted to enter the name of a city, airport, attraction, etc. If you
do want to find a hotel near your location, flick down to the edit boxes for
entering information such as dates of stay, number of rooms, and guests.
As you add letters in the edit box, results are listed. Double-tap on the
one you want. When the new page loads there will be a form for entering
dates of stay, number of rooms, and number of guests.
The current date is selected by default. Change the date by double tapping
on the current date. A calendar, similar to the ones in the Marriott and
InterContinental apps, will open. Flicking and scrolling do work to navigate
the calendar, but at certain points in between months, VoiceOver may not
speak when you flick your finger. Keep going and VoiceOver will again start
speaking. Double tap on your arrival and departure dates and then activate
the "Done" button in the upper right corner.
When the new screen loads, arrival and departure days are clearly displayed.
Below the departure date is an option for selecting the number of rooms and
number of guests in each room. Double-tap on the option.
The next screen says "Room 1." The number of adults and children who will be
in the room is selected by pickers at the bottom of the page. These pickers
do work with VoiceOver. Add another room by activating the "Add Room"
option. Once your selections are made, activate the "Back" button in the
upper left corner.
The next screen has your dates and room information. There is an option to
use points or enter a special rate code. Next is a "Find Hotels" button and
a "Cancel" button.
The next screen will have the travel dates, number of rooms, and number of
guests, followed by a list of hotels. Each listing includes the lowest rate
and the number of points needed to book. At the bottom of the screen are
three options: Sort, Map, and Filter. By default, only Hilton hotels are
listed in the search result, but this can be changed to "all hotels by
price" in the sort option. This means that other Hilton brands such as
DoubleTree and Embassy Suites will be included. The "Filter" button provides
options including "filter by brands" and "filter by amenities." Double-tap
on your hotel selection.
The next screen gives descriptions of the selected hotel and room. There is
also a button to call the hotel directly. In the upper right corner is a
button for adding additional requests including special rates, accessible
rooms, and cancellation policies. Once you make your selections, activate
the "Apply" button in the lower right corner. Then double-tap on the room
you want and a new reservations page will load. There will be options to
sign in or continue as a guest.
The reservation page uses edit boxes and pickers to complete the form. There
are a couple of occasions where the edit box will say, "Type." Go to the
bottom of the screen and use the picker to select the type of e-mail address
and phone number you are using on the form. When filling out this form,
instead of saying each individual letter, VoiceOver says the individual
letters as a word.
After you enter credit card information, there is an option for requests,
including traveling with a service dog. There is also an edit box labeled,
"Anything else we need to know?" The "Done" button in the upper right corner
returns to the reservation form. Once the "Book Now" button activated, a
confirmation e-mail is sent immediately.
This was by far the most accessible app of the three reviewed here. One
improvement would be to make it easier to find the months with VoiceOver and
to have VoiceOver read the day of the week as you flick past each date.
The Bottom Line
It's unfortunate that people who are blind don't have the same access to
some hotel iOS apps as sighted customers do. Making the Marriott and
InterContinental apps accessible with VoiceOver would not be a major
project, and, for major corporations like these, the resources required to
do so are relatively inconsequential. The app from Hilton is by far the most
accessible. The calendar could use some modification, which would make it
easier to use. However, it is quite accessible and the Call Us feature is a
"With God, no problem is too big and no detail is too small."
- Woodrow Kroll
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Robert Acosta, President
Helping Hands for the Blind