For someone in a wheelchair, knowing in advance that a place has stairs at the entrance or inaccessible bathrooms may make the difference between deciding to go there and skipping it to go somewhere else. There’s an effort underway to create a crowd-sourced database of the accessibility features of businesses to make it easier for someone to learn if they have Braille signs or handicap parking spaces, for instance.
Foursquare users can contribute to that database each time they check in, thanks to a Foursquare connected app created by the Access Together project. When you add the app, every time you check in somewhere, you’ll be asked to answer a few questions about the place’s accessibility features. Does it have accessible bathrooms? Is there a lot of background noise? Is there an elevator to move between floors? You don’t need to be an expert on disabilities to answer most of the questions.
Your answers are fed into the Access Together database, where it can be accessed by disabled users via the website, the mobile web or the through the same Foursquare connected app. It gives them a much better picture of what they’ll be facing before they arrive somewhere. Access Together even offers an API that can be integrated into other apps.
Each city gets a community page on the Access Together site where a map displays the venues that have been rated with colored icons to denote their accessibility level.
This connected app is a great way to get crowd-sourced data about something so vital to an oft-underserved portion of our population. With more data comes more accountability, both from business and government while also providing a useful tool directly to the people who are affected.
You can add the app to your account here.
What do you think of the Access Together project? Will you connect the app to offer more information?