Access Now

For the disabled and those with mobility issues, just trying to live their life in public can be daunting. But now, there’s an app for that. AccessNow is a mobile phone app and web platform that allows people to search for, discover, and rate public places based on how accessible they are for everyone.

The idea for this “little app that could” stemmed from Canadian founder, Maayan Ziv. Born with muscular dystrophy, she has spent most of her life in a wheelchair. Throughout her life she’s encountered countless places with accessibility issues, from just getting in the front door to using a washroom. Her company’s mission is to share accessibility information around the world by mapping as many places as possible, and inviting users to help by crowd sourcing their own experiences.

The AccessNow platform features ‘travel-advisor style’ reviews and pins of locations that others can use to make decisions based on a wide range of needs—from accessible bathrooms and parking, to scent-free or quiet spaces, sign language and braille friendly, service animal friendly spaces, and more.

The concept is also helping local businesses and civic leaders think about accessibility differently.

“There’s this assumption that accessibility is geared to people with disabilities specifically, but the population is much larger,” Ziv says. “When I go to a restaurant, I’m not going alone. I’m going with my whole family. So, it’s a much bigger pool of individuals.”

Now expanded to include those using strollers, canes, or recovering from surgery, this user base becomes even more inclusive. AccessNow also adds reviews of places that are digitally accessible from home, with online ordering and delivery, remote work opportunities, and telemedicine.

Born of a personal need to boldly interact with the world, AccessNow is helping to provide a clearly accessible future for everyone.