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AccessNow, New Website that Highlights Accessible Venues Across the Globe: Tools You Can Use

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A screenshot of the AccessNow website

As a wheelchair user, accessibility is undeniably on my mind when I venture out in public, especially when visiting new venues with friends.  Worrying about ramps, accessible restrooms, having enough room to maneuver about comfortably, etc., can cause anxiety because in 2016, these are still problems for me and millions of others who use mobility devices.  Technology has been a major game-changer in pointing out public places that are accessible or inaccessible, and this week, I am spotlighting a new resource that will allow those with disabilities to travel a bit easier with less stress.

AccessNow:  New Accessible Business Marking Tool

Maayab Ziv is the founder of AccessNow, a new website that allows users to indicate on a map, using a thumbs up or thumbs down system, what businesses are accessible or not in their area, and view accessible venues that exists across the globe.  Users can also provide details as to how accessible a place of business actually is; AccessNow has “partially accessible” and “patio access only” options to allow for further explanation for those who may be interested in patronizing these places.  

The map is user-friendly and easy to use – click the “Search Locations” button on the webpage, and you will be taken to the AccessNow map.  This is where you can find businesses that have already been reviewed and marked by users, as well as indicate locations that you would like to see highlighted (or “pinned”) on the map.  

To pin new places on the AccessNow map, one will have to create a Mapme account on the website to do so.  You can sign-up by email, or by signing up via Facebook or Twitter.

Why AccessNow Is Important

Public places and spaces should be accessible for all patrons, not just those who are able-bodied.  An inclusive society ensures that all citizens have the ability and opportunity to partake in social and business venues with ease, without any barriers.  Disabled people are constantly on the move and we should not be slowed down due to there being steps at the entrance of a boutique or a restaurant that does not have enough space between seating arrangements for wheelchair users to move about without bumping into tables and chairs.  Resources like AccessNow takes the hassle out of planning where to go – you can check the map to learn what businesses you can access without difficulty, and see which businesses prioritizes disability accessibility and inclusion.  

Final Thoughts

Over the past couple of years, there have been a number of online tools created by and for disabled patrons to utilize so that we can navigate a society that has still lags behind when it comes to accessibility.  Tools like AccessNow assists to make such navigation less complicated, and its existence is greatly appreciated by those of us who rely on it for safe and accessible travels.  

About Vilissa Thompson, LMSW

Vilissa is the Founder & CEO of Ramp Your Voice!, an organization she created to establish herself as a Disability Rights Consultant & Advocate. Ramp Your Voice! is a prime example of how macro-minded Vilissa truly is, and her determination to leave a giant "tire track mark" on the world.

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