Multiple sclerosis landed me in a wheelchair in 2006. Suddenly a too-narrow door, or one step outside of a restaurant turned the daily activities I had always taken for granted into huge obstacles. When most people plan to go to a restaurant they don't have to worry about whether they'll actually be able to get in the door to meet their friends, or whether they'll be able to get into a bathroom stall. Many of us just choose stay home rather than face these challenges - there's got to be a better way.
Google Maps has the ability to help people with disabilities across the world.Currently Google Maps has different options -- you can add traffic info, bike info or weather info to your maps. People with mobility challenges like me need Google Maps to include an accessibility option so that we are able to find out where we can go!
No one wants to discriminate, but accessibility isn't something most people have to think about ever, thankfully. Most of the time I just need to point out why something is inaccessible for people in wheelchairs and people spring into action. I'm hoping that's the case with Google. After all, their motto is: don't be evil.
Google already designs their products to be accessible for blind and deaf people, so we know they already care about accessibility.
When I first lost the ability to walk, I felt invisible. I had been an industrial millwright mechanic for 30 years and suddenly couldn't do that anymore. But I decided to see my disability as a new challenge. I went back to college to study Community and Justice Services, and I developed a passion for helping others.
I started this because I know that not only would an accessibility feature on Google Maps change the daily lives of people with disabilities around the world, but more importantly, it would be saying that people with accessibility challenges matter too.