Feature by Isabelle Schuhmacher
Submitted by SAP
The Coldplay Music Of The Spheres World Tour app, developed in partnership with SAP, combines an immersive experience along with features to help fans make more environmentally friendly decisions when attending Coldplay shows. A blind Coldplay fan supported SAP in making the app accessible for blind and visually impaired people.
When Coldplay started their Music Of The Spheres World Tour in 2022, the goal was clear: to make it their most sustainable and environmentally friendly tour yet by cutting their CO2 emissions by 50% compared to the 2016/17 world tour. SAP supported this goal with the development of the Music Of The Spheres World Tour app which allows fans to not only enjoy exclusive tour content but also helps them visualize how their actions attending shows contribute to their carbon footprint so they can choose more sustainable transportation options.
The Music Of The Spheres World Tour app calculates the impact of fan travel to and from shows, providing rewards for fans who commit to low-carbon transportation options and enables Coldplay to understand the fans carbon footprint to offset emissions. As Coldplay launches year two of its tour, more than 350,000 fans in over 150 countries have downloaded the app, proving Coldplay’s vision right: armed with information and intent, every concert-going fan can make more sustainable travel choices.
Next Step: Making the App Accessible for Blind and Visually Impaired People
During the development process, both Coldplay and the SAP team set the goal to make the app accessible for users with disabilities who rely on assistive technology like screen readers or magnifiers. As the SAP team started to work on accessibility functionalities, a Coldplay fan from Mexico reached out to share her challenges as a blind person using the app.
The fan, who asked to remain anonymous, explains: “I’m blind since birth and I need screen readers for productivity and entertainment in my daily life. As a huge Coldplay fan, I tried to use the tour app and quickly noticed that the app was difficult to use for one who is blind or visually impaired. I’m very much driven to advocate for blind people to get equal opportunity, and to enjoy interactive content. That’s why I contacted SAP to support in the areas of sound design, testing and providing ideas for software development to make the app more usable for blind fans.”
To make the Music Of The Spheres World tour app accessible, we included feedback from a blind fan who is an audio engineer and tech enthusiast. She is deeply passionate about accessibility and music, with Coldplay being her favorite band. What she admires most about Coldplay is their commitment to accessibility and equality, like providing sign language interpretation for deaf concertgoers or installing quiet stations with sensory bags for people with autism. Her favorite Coldplay songs are Politik and Coloratura.
The Coldplay fan connected with Nicole Windmann, vice president for Accessibility and Inclusive Design at SAP. “With our SAP products we aim to create a more sustainable and inclusive environment for people. Accessibility is a key driver of this vision. When we include insights from people with different backgrounds and acknowledge different ways of working, perception, and interaction with our designs, we can create the most enjoyable and efficient software.”
Working with three SAP employees who are also blind, the SAP Academy for Engineering development team worked to optimize accessibility functionalities for the Music Of The Spheres World Tour app. The team labeled items like screen buttons and described images, to enable screen readers to read out the functionality and provide helpful hints. Additionally, gestures such as swiping or double tapping are often used by blind people to navigate an app without having to look at the screen. To use this functionality, the team re-structured the code of the Coldplay app, providing a more suitable navigation for blind users.
In close contact with the SAP team, the Coldplay fan volunteered to test the app usability for blind users and give her feedback. “Working with SAP has been great!” she says. “My feedback helped the developers understand the blindness point of view. In a world where the capabilities of people with disabilities are often underestimated or assumed without getting to know the person first, I’m inspired every day to work on a more inclusive world.”
“At SAP, we believe that diversity drives innovation and better experiences for our employees, customers, and partners alike,” Christian Klein, CEO and member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, says. “The fans feedback on the Coldplay app is a great example of the vital role user feedback plays in shaping our applications and the importance of having products and services that are inclusive and accessible to all.”
SAP’s Responsibility Toward Diversity & Inclusion
At SAP, we strive to be the most inclusive company in the world, reflecting a higher standard of societal values and perspectives in all that we do. Our diversity and inclusion strategy is built on three pillars:
After an extensive testing and development phase, we’re now ready to provide blind and visually impaired people an even greater app experience – just in time for Coldplay’s 2023 Music Of The Spheres World Tour stops in Latin America, Europe, and North America.
“Our fans worldwide are our biggest inspiration. They have enabled us with their feedback to make the Music Of The Spheres World Tour app as useful and accessible as possible. We’re proud of the collaboration with our partner SAP, who has created an impactful app that can now also be used by fans who are blind or visually impaired,” Coldplay states.
The Coldplay fan from Mexico is wishfully looking forward to the 2023 tour. “I will be attending Coldplay’s San Diego show and I am already thrilled about it. And of course I will make sure to check the app for sustainable travel options,” she says with a smile on her face.
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