Currently about 15 per cent of the world’s population lives with a disability. In Ontario, we are talking about 1.85 million people, or one in seven. In the next 20 years, the number of people living with a disability will increase to one in five. Currently, there are limited navigational resources available to people with disabilities. AccessNow is all about sharing accessibility info around the world, allowing everyone to find access.
Maayan Ziv, a graduate of Ryerson University’s Master of Digital Media program living with muscular dystrophy, founded AccessNow in 2015, a website and app that rates locations based on how wheelchair-accessible they are.
AccessNow uses crowdsourcing to pinpoint the accessibility status of locations worldwide on an interactive map. Users can search for specific places or browse the map to discover what locations have the accessibility features they require. Anyone can add a place to the map, contributing to the project’s mission. AccessNow is a community empowering each other; a community of advocates and socializers sharing accessibility information so we can all have access, now.
Today, users from the worldwide community are beginning to add pins in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. What started with over 800 pins on a map has ballooned into more than 15,000 pins, in 220 cities, from over 30 countries. Maayan’s work has been recognized with a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and a David C. Onley Award for Leadership in Accessibility.