Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Wheelchair Access - There's an App for that?
So Krauthausen took matters into his own hands and launched wheelmap.org, an iPhone application and website in German and English that allows users to share ratings and tips on how accessible shops, bars and other places are.
"Sometimes I feel I'm treated like a child who isn't allowed to decide specific things by myself," said the 30-year-old who suffers from a genetic disorder that makes his bones brittle. "I want to remain flexible and not be dependent on when a driving service has time to pick me up."
It turned out he wasn't the only one who felt that way. With some 300 new user-ratings daily, wheelmap.org now has details on 30,000 locations. Around 80 percent of tagged spots are in Germany, but site ratings for cities like London and New York are slowly growing, Krauthausen said.
"Wheelmap.org wants to help show people with mobility impairments everything that's achievable," he said.
Krauthausen attributes Wheelmap's success to its availability as an iPhone application and the "Wiki principle" - the idea that anyone, anywhere can contribute. Users rate locations without registering, but must log in to add specific comments.