Most people do not think about wheelchair accessibility - not because it’s not important, but because it’s not something you have to face unless you are reliant on a wheelchair.
However, the lack of accessible buildings is a big problem for many people around the world that do have to depend on a wheelchair. This is where a new app out of Ireland comes into play.
The app is called Access Earth, and the goal of the app is to help people find buildings that are wheelchair accessible - in addition to bringing attention to the owner’s of buildings that have not made those buildings accessible. The app is well thought out and important on many different levels - here’s more about Access Earth.
How Access Earth Works
Access Earth relies on crowdsourced information and data. So when one person reports that a building is or is not wheelchair accessible, that information is added to the app’s database. This information reporting continues amongst the people that are using the app, so everyone knows where they can and can’t easily go.
The designers behind this app created the app based on a real need. Discovering that many older buildings did not have wheelchair accessibility was a big problem for the app’s developers, and this prompted them to create Access Earth. In addition to helping people in wheelchairs discover which buildings are easiest to access, Access Earth also provides information to building owners.
Isolating a Massive Market
Business owners often do not think that providing a wheelchair accessible ramp or other alternative route is vital, but this tends to mean that those business owners are missing out on a massive market. When people that require wheelchair access book hotels or even visit venues, they will avoid a place that cannot be easily accessed (and rightly so). This means that many businesses are isolating an important market.
Access Earth’s developers are hoping that the app will bring some clear data to business owners. If a business is not accessible, this problem can be fixed relatively easily. So the app not only helps those in need of wheelchair accessibility, it also helps those that require additional data about their own business.
Where to Find It
Right now, Access Earth is available worldwide, though the main focus of the app is in Dublin, Ireland. So you can use the app right now, but there might not be a lot of information for buildings in North America since the site is crowdsourced.
A Bigger Problem Too
Not only are some buildings completely lacking wheelchair access, some claim to be accessible but they are not. A good example is bathroom spaces that are not easily accessed with wheelchairs - while a building might claim to be wheelchair accessible, there are often parts of a building that are sorely lacking.
Access Earth might help to change all of these spaces that are lacking, but the app will require some help from everyone that uses it.
After all, a crowdsourced app is only as good as the people that are adding information to the app.