In the tech world, universal design and accessibility has quickly shifted from concept to creation. Accessibility-friendly corporations like Google and Apple have facilitated that shift within the past decade by creating and fine-tuning devices that allow people to communicate in ways that were never possible before. Many of these advances in assistive technology have allowed individuals with disabilities to more meaningfully participate in society through innovative means of communication such as text-to-speech, speech-to-text, braille technology, AAC, and more. More than that, many of these innovations come built-in to mainstream smartphones and tablets, making the barrier to accessibility even lower.
These advances have been incredible for individuals with learning and processing disabilities, but unfortunately, individuals with physical disabilities are still faced with the task of navigating a world that is not yet universally designed. And while many new construction projects are subject to strict accessibility and universal design regulations, countless inaccessible and poorly designed buildings and pieces of infrastructure still exist and will continue to exist for decades to come.
The app that we’re looking at today seeks to tackle that very issue by assisting individuals with physical disabilities in navigating the world around them. WheelMate uses GPS technology to provide users with an interactive accessibility map that displays nearby accessible toilets and parking spaces. The app is maintained by wheelchair users who add and verify locations, so users know that the information is accurate. And because this is a relatively new app, as the user base grows, new locations will be added to the map, creating even more opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities to more easily navigate and enjoy the world around them. The app has currently marked 35,000 locations marked by 17,000 users, across 45 countries with more locations being added every day.
- Provides users with a high quality map of the nearest wheelchair-friendly toilets and parking spaces
- GPS technology provides directions from current location to the desired accessible facility
- Users are able to add and rate locations
- The app is free and no registration is required
For individuals with physical disabilities who require accessible parking and bathroom facilities this app is a must-have, especially when exploring new locations. Stay tuned as new locations and countries are added every day. You can download the app by following the links: WheelMate app for iOS(new window) and WheelMate app for Android(new window).