Google has made great accessibility strides, from their internet ventures to mainstream products. Google realizes that accessibility should not be a luxury, but rather a right. Most recently Google has created a new feature in their maps application. So, not only can a user get directions to a given location, but they can now tell whether or not a place is wheelchair accessible. This is a really convenient and handy feature. Can you imagine going to a place to find out that you can not enter because there is no ramp or elevator to accommodate you? The time and effort it took is wasted. I imagine that could be very frustrating, to say the least. Google’s aim is to prepare a wheelchair user on what to expect from various locations, before traveling there.
Let’s examine the new feature more closer. How is the data gathered to tell whether or not a location is accessible or not? The answer is, patrons themselves. Data is collected from people who use the Google Maps application. Within the application, there is the newly added category, accessibility. Under the accessibility tab, people write a review. But, what is exactly accessible? That depends on the detail of a person’s review; could be very detailed to limited information. In addition, to whose standards are accessibility viewed? What may be accessible to one person, may not be to another. Therefore, it would be advantageous if the reviews category had a template to base answers off of; questions that are based off the ADA criteria. The accessibility feature is a great idea and has potential to create awareness, but has some revising that needs to take place. If you have used the Google Maps accessibility feature, tweet us and let us know what you think. We want to hear from you!