ABOUT ACCESS A11Y
Q1: What is Access A11y? How do you pronounce it?
Access A11y (pronounced Access Ally) was designed to crowdsource information about whether and to what extent businesses are accessible for people with disabilities, specifically wheelchair users. This information will allow customers who use wheelchairs to decide where to shop and eat, and encourage business owners to make their locations more accessible to people with disabilities.
Q2: Who created Access A11y? Who owns its content?
Access A11y was created by the Equal Rights Center (ERC), a civil rights organization that identifies and seeks to eliminate unlawful and unfair discrimination in housing, employment, and access to public accommodations in its home community of Greater Washington, D.C. and nationwide. The ERC owns all data on or entered into this site.
Q3: How is Access A11y funded?
At present, Access A11y is funded by the ERC’s general operating funds. The ERC has begun fundraising from donors, foundations, and corporations to support ongoing operating costs and the development of an expanded site that covers other types of businesses (healthcare facilities, hotels, etc.), is nationwide in scope, and gathers information that would be helpful to other types of disabilities, such as people who are blind or low vision or are Deaf or hard of hearing. If you are interested in helping to fund this site, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q4: Is Access A11y a website or an app?
Access A11y is a website that was created to function as an app on your smartphone.
SEARCHING FOR A RESTAURANT OR RETAIL STORE
Q1: How do I search for a business?
From the home page, you can search for a business in multiple ways. You can search by:
- Business name
- Business category – Restaurant or Retail Store
- Location – Right now, we are focused on the Washington D.C. metro area and New York City, but you can also add a location by clicking the at the top of the homepage.
- You can also click on the Restaurant or Retail Store buttons on the home page to be taken to a special search page that will limit your search to that specific business category.
After you receive your initial search results, you can further filter by:
- Open now
- Highest rated only
- Accessible feature, including entrance, parking, checkout/paying, eating/shopping or bathroom)
On this page, you can also see the locations on a map.
Q2: What do I do if I cannot find the restaurant or retail store I am looking for on Access A11y?
Q3: Why is Access A11Y only focused on the Washington D.C. metropolitan area and New York City?
This is only the initial version of Access A11y. It will allow us to beta test the site and data in a limited scope before ultimately creating the next generation version that is even more comprehensive and launched nationwide.
RATING & SUBMITTING A REVIEW
Q1: How do I submit a rating and/or review?
- Select a business by either clicking on the business’ picture, the “View Detail” button under the picture or the business on the map. This will take you to the specific page for that business.
- The specific page for the business will contain 4 tabs – See & Submit Reviews, Description, Map, and Claim Your Business.
- To rate and review the venue, click on the See & Submit Reviews tab.
- You can only rate or leave a review of a business if you are a registered user of the site. If you are not already logged in, the site will prompt you to either sign up or sign in. Once you have done this, you will then be able to rate the business and leave a review.
- After you have signed in, you can rate the accessible features of a venue by checking if each feature (the entrance, parking, eating/shopping, checkout/paying, and bathroom) is “accessible,” “not accessible,” or “it’s complicated.”
- The accessible features rating function also shows you how others have rated these features at that particular business.
- See Things to Consider, if you would like further information about how to rate and/or review a business.
- To submit a narrative review and upload pictures, click the Write a Review button on this tab.
- Create a title for your review.
- In the “Your Review” section, write your narrative review telling other users about the accessibility of the business. This is an opportunity to describe your experience at the retail store or restaurant. For example, in your opinion, is it a good place for a person using a wheelchair to go or did you notice anything that might cause harm or prevent a person using a wheelchair from using the space?
- Include unique information that might impact the ability of certain users to go to a location, e.g., the size of a wheelchair, as well as information to explain any “it’s complicated” ratings.
- The final field allows you to upload pictures equal to or smaller than 256M. This is roughly __ small pictures.
- Then click the signup and submit a review field. If you are already logged in, you will be able to submit your review. If not, you will be prompted again to sign in or sign up.
Q2: How can I rate the accessibility of a restaurant or retail store?
This site allows you to rate the accessible features of a business by checking if each feature (the entrance, parking, eating/shopping, checkout/paying, and bathroom) is “accessible”, “not accessible” or “it’s complicated”.
|Accessible||Not Accessible||It’s Complicated|
|Entrance (1 said yes)||Entrance (2 said no)||Entrance (0 said not sure)|
|Parking (2 said yes)||Parking (0 said no)||Parking (0 said not sure)|
|Eating/Shopping (1 said yes)||Eating/Shopping (2 said no)||Eating/Shopping (0 said not sure)|
|Checkout/Paying (3 said yes)||Checkout/Paying (0 said no)||Checkout/Paying (0 said not sure)|
|Bathroom (1 said yes)||Bathroom (2 said no)||Bathroom (0 said not sure)|
Q3: What does “It’s Complicated” mean?
“It’s complicated” can mean many different things. For example, maybe you can enter the building, but the accessible entrance is at the back. It could also mean that you could visit the business but it wasn’t particularly easy to get around. We encourage you to explain why a rating is complicated by submitting a narrative review.
Q4: What should I do if I believe someone has submitted inaccurate information about my business?
A business owner can claim his or her business. To do this, go to the Claim Your Business tab on your businesses page and click on the Claim Your Business button. You will be prompted to provide contact details. For more information, see “Learn How to Claim Your Business” page.
Q5: What should I do if I believe someone has erroneously claimed my business?
Please contact the ERC at the following email address email@example.com.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Q1: What should I consider when rating a restaurant or retail store?
When rating each feature, think about whether the feature is usable for you. For example, you might consider the factors described below.
Consider whether you can get into the restaurant or retail store. Some things that might impact this include the following:
- A door wide enough for your wheelchair to comfortably get through;
- A door you can open with little force (i.e., not too heavy, or has a motion sensor or automatic button to open);
- Enough space for you to maneuver while opening the door;
- The ability to open and close the door without twisting or pinching; and,
- The absence of stairs or alternatively a ramp, platform or elevator.
- For a ramp, some things that might impact your ability to enter include the slope and width of the ramp, the presence of railings, and/or a level landing at the top.
Rate this feature only when parking is provided at the venue.
If parking is provided, consider whether you can park safely and easily. Some things that might impact this include the availability of car and van accessible parking spaces. These accessible parking spaces usually
- Have access aisles next to a parking spot that are large enough to fit another car and marked so that other drivers know not to park there;
- Have signs marking which spots are accessible that are easy to see (e.g., visible over a parked car);
- Are located closest to the entrance; and,
- Have a safe way to get from the parking spot to the business’ entrance (e.g., crosswalks and/or curb cuts).
Consider whether you can shop or dine independently. Some things that might impact this include:
- Having an open and wide pathway allowing you to move freely throughout the store or restaurant without bumping into anything. For example, a pathway with a dead end that requires a person in a wheelchair to back up without being able to turn around, might make it difficult to comfortably navigate a location.
- For restaurants, additional things that might impact your experience include being able to get to dining tables that are at a comfortable height with removable chairs and being able to reach and use self-service items like coffee or soda machines, condiments, and utensils.
- For retail stores, additional things that might impact your experience include products that you can comfortably reach; and, fitting rooms that you can get into easily, that are large enough for you to try on clothes privately, and that have mirrors, hooks and benches that are easy for you to use.
Consider whether you can pay for your items or service without assistance (e.g. telling someone your debit card PIN). Some things that might impact this include:
- Having a checkout counter that is low enough for you to write a check or place your wallet or purse down while paying;
- Having a checkout counter that is wide enough for your wheelchair to go through comfortably; and,
- Having a point of sale device that is comfortably within your reach and allows you to process payment without revealing private information.
Rate this feature only when one or more public restrooms are available at the restaurant or store.
If a public restroom is available, consider whether you can enter and use the bathroom independently. Some things that might impact this include:
- A bathroom entrance and/or stall door
- That is wide enough for your wheelchair to comfortably get through;
- That you can open with little force (i.e., not too heavy, or has a motion sensor or automatic button to open);
- That has enough space for you to maneuver while opening the door; and,
- That you can open and close the door without twisting or pinching.
- Other things that might impact your experience include:
- A sink that is at a comfortable height and location;
- Insulated pipes under the sink to prevent burns;
- Faucets that can be used easily;
- A toilet at a comfortable height with sufficient space near to allow for easy transfer;
- Reinforced grab bars located on the side and back walls closest to the toilet; and,
- A paper towel holder, soap dispenser, and toilet paper dispenser within comfortable reach.
In your narrative review, tell other users about the accessibility of the business. This is an opportunity to describe your experience at the retail store or restaurant. For example, in your opinion, is it a good place for a person using a wheelchair to go or did you notice anything that might cause harm or prevent a person using a wheelchair from using the space?
Q1: How do I create an account?
Click on the
to sign up or create an account.
Q2: What do I do if I forgot my password?
In the sign in box, please click on the Forgot My Password box and follow the instructions.
Q3: How do I report a problem with the website?
Please contact the ERC at the following email address firstname.lastname@example.org