AccessAbility

An all-in-one app that allows the disabled community and thier families to find locations that are accessible to everyone.

Photo of Avika Patel
20 36

Written by

Date You Started Your Project Started

05/30/2019

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

In the Us, 40 million identify as having a disability that impacts life activities. Growing up, I witnessed the hardships my grandparents had to access places as simple as the grocery store. From trying to find an accessible entrance to scouting for a parking spot, there are countless unjustified struggles that exist in the disabled community. I realized I needed to take action by destroying the stigma and promoting inclusivity through innovation

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

AccessAbility is a web and mobile platform that allows the disabled community and their families to find locations that are accessible. With so much of the population constantly struggling to reach our country’s resources, they are excluded and limited in their accessibility to the world. Our software works to use technology to help find, identify, and review locations in the community in three ways: searching for a specific address to get information and reviews, looking at a neighborhood map to see where services are in a new location, or searching within a community with specific search factors. In previous instances where those in our handicapped and disabled populations would not leave the home, they could now search through the app and go directly to a location that works for them. No more driving around. No more unnecessary asking. No more stigma in leaving home. Through a simple and intuitive design, the platform also has the goal to be helpful to those who are not fluent or unfamiliar with technology. Current initiatives are working on adding voice recognition so that those who cannot see well or have difficulty gripping a phone, can voice for the details and be included.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

“Let’s lift the wheelchair over the curb,” we all proclaim after spending 10 minutes looking for a wheelchair accessible entrance to the store. There was a small slope for carts, but nothing big enough to push up a wheelchair. Not to mention, the door was too small to fit through either way. That instance described the everyday struggle of finding a location that was accessible to my grandparents. Soon it became that they would never come out and would save the effort by staying home and smiling us away. Seeing them made me realize that there are countless others just like us who were lost and often gave up. This instance motivated me to stand up and make a change. I’ve always loved reading about how computer science was becoming the avenue for social change and it inspired me to use the passion and drive I had to innovate change that could better their lives and our community.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

Seeing the hardships my grandmother had to go through, I know how difficult it is for the 40 million disabled Americans everyday. Not only are they excluded from our community, but completely hindered from experiencing what we take for granted. Through talking with my friends who have similar situations, we learned that there is no current solution that provides the disabled community with the resources to be included. That is why I knew I had to step up and create change with AccessAbility.

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Alex has a wheelchair and plays on his district’s parasport team, yet doesn’t go out much except to the courts and gym. After finding AccessAbility through one of their outreach initiatives, he looks at their website. Using the map function, he sees that the local mall has an accessible entrance by the east wing and plans a day to visit with his friends. After an awesome day, Alex visits the address tab to find the grocery store his mom visits and sees that aisles are big enough. He surprises her by offering to come help and spend time with her outside. Later, when he goes with his team to compete in another city, Alex downloads the app and is able to use the search function to find a new gym. Once there, he finds that there are accessible restrooms and adds his review so that others can use later. In every aspect, AccessAbility allowed Alex to be more confident, included, and empowered.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

AccessAbility is unique in its comprehensive solution to a problem that has been too sidelined and stigmatized. For example, Google Maps wheelchair functionality requires the user to explicitly know the settings and is limited to the context of public transportation. However, we know that the problem continues more into their daily lives and more locations than have buses or trains. For that reason, AccessAbility becomes the prime solution to track all factors in a specialized application, providing the additional possibility of overviewing maps, searching lists, reviewing opinions, and more.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

The AccessAbility team has made positive differences so far and know it will continue to do so in the future. We’ve prototyped our application and website, integrating the search functions and filters. We have also reviewed our community for feedback, initially targeting community centers and elderly homes. The idea for including a voice recognition system was actually from a community member who didn’t speak fluent English to ask around when she went out. Seeing the possibilities and intuitiveness of the design, she realized that so many more people could be assisted as well. We have also formed state and national connections such as the CASC and are ready to aid the 40 million disabled Americans. By working with large organizations and institutions such as hospitals, we know that AccessAbility will quickly be able to create positive change in the community and in people’s lives.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

Our initial product design will continue to be spread locally, developed with voice/language translation, and finally launched publically. We will then work with connections to promote. For example, we have an established connection with the CA Assoc. of Student Councils that represent 6.3 million students across the state at the capitol. We will be able to solidify impact through legislative connections and have the opportunity to work with leaders that can impact people of all ages in the most populous state. By establishing prominence in California, we expect a user base of individuals, families, and health care professionals of at least 3,000 in the first few months and monthly increase of 50%, reaching over 100,000 by the end of 2020.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Marketing Strategy

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100
  • Donations between $100-$1k

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others
  • T-Mobile page or contact
  • Article in the news
  • Email

Evaluation results

7 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 57.1%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 28.6%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 14.3%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 42.9%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 28.6%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 28.6%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 57.1%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 14.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 14.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 14.3%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 66.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 33.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 33.3%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 57.1%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 28.6%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 14.3%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

20 comments

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Spam
Photo of Leéna Boone
Team

This is an amazing project. Is the app live for this for iOS and Android? I could really use this for my disabled father sometimes. This is an amazing idea and I think you have a wonderful attitude toward developing this to solve this commonly overlooked issue. Thank you for your hard work and good luck! :)

Spam
Photo of Avika Patel
Team

Thank you for your comment, Leéna! We are currently building and testing our platforms in our local community before releasing onto the app stores. I will make sure to keep you in mind as we build and let you know immediately as we do! Please contact us at connect.accessability@gmail.com if you have any features you think could be especially important or ones you think we could add. We are always open to ideas and making sure that the most number of people are helped! We really hope AccessAbility is able to help everyone in our community and won't stop as long as we are able to incite change! Thank you again!

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