As it continues its massively-successful Music of the Spheres World Tour across South America, Europe, and the United States, Coldplay has updated its companion tour app with major accessibility improvements. The band, together with its partners at SAP, worked closely with a fan from Mexico who shared her experiences using the app as a blind person.

Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres World Tour: Inclusive and sustainable

Lead image credit: Tim Toda

Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres World Tour app provides fans with a range of exclusive content, including images and videos from shows, exclusive live streams, and much more. The app also helps fans make “informed choices on how you travel to the show” as part of Coldplay’s efforts to make the Music of the Spheres world tour their “most sustainable and environmentally friendly tour yet.”

For this latest update to the app, SAP explained that it worked with Coldplay to “make the app accessible for users with disabilities who rely on assistive technology like screen readers or magnifiers.” As that work began, an anonymous Coldplay fan from Mexico reached out to share her challenges as a blind person using the app (via Coldplaying):

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.

That Coldplay fan, along with Nicole Windmann, vice president for Accessibility and Inclusive Design at SAP, and three SAP employees who are also blind, they set out “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.

As that work continued, SAP and Coldplay worked with the fan to test the app usability for blind users and provide additional feedback. “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,” the fan says.

In the release notes for the new version of the Music of the Spheres World Tour app, Coldplay and SAP highlight the improvements:

  • The app has been made accessible to enable navigation with touch gestures.
  • Speech output (VoiceOver) has been improved for Tour, Planet, Travel and Universe sections
  • The “Story of the Spheres” can be experienced using VoiceOver

In its own statement, Coldplay states:

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.

A more accessible version of the Music of the Spheres app is just one of many things Coldplay has done to make its shows as accessible and inclusive as possible.

At its concerts, Coldplay also offers SUBPACs (wearable, bass-delivering vests) and sign language interpreters for D/deaf and hard-of-hearing fans. The band also installs quiet stations with sensory bags for people with autism and offers touch tours before the show for fans who are blind or have low vision.

The new version of the Music of the Spheres World Tour app is available now for iPhone and Android devices. Coldplay’s tour continues this year across South America, Europe, and the United States.

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