Crowdsourcing access? We have two apps for that!
AbleRoad and AXS Map are both free apps designed to connect people to all types of accessible venues. Both are downloads from iTunes and Google Play, and both are also usable as websites. And both are new, so the databases of actual accessible venues are still pretty thin.
There are differences, though. AbleRoad, the brainchild of longtime advocate Kevin McGuire, a para, works alongside of Yelp!, whereas AXS Map, created by filmmaker Jason DaSilva, a scooter-user with MS, presents Google reviews alongside any of its own.
And how the sites search are different, too. AbleRoad is more likely to pull up the exact place searched for, while AXS Maps may list that venue further down the list of similar venues.
Neither site has very many access-specific reviews right now, so I tested how easy it is to create a review. My logic here is that the easier it is to log a review, the more reviews that app will eventually have. First I searched each site for Bangkok 56, my favorite Thai restaurant here in Harrisburg, Pa. The parking lot is cramped, but the ramp is wide enough and kept clear, and the door is easy to open. The bathrooms aren’t perfect, but they are roomy — only one toilet in both the men’s and women’s. The tables are easy to get to, the noise level is usually pretty low, and the staff is extraordinarily friendly. It’s like going to a friend’s house for dinner, if I had a friend who could make drunken noodles.
I was able to enter all of this and a little bit more on AbleRoad in less than one minute. That’s an incentive to enter more reviews for other venues. I just logged on via my Facebook account, tapped a few stars, wrote a few sentences, and I was done.
AXS Map needed me to register before I could write a review, and asked for a password. That took a full minute, plus I’ll probably forget the password, so will have to have it resent if I use the site again. And then I had to search for Bangkok 56 again, since it disappeared while I registered. But once all that was done, it took less than a minute to log the review.
AbleRoad asks for more details and feels more thorough, but they’re both generally about the same.