We strive to serve people with disabilities, their families, and caregivers by providing a road-map of accessible public spaces and business locations around the world while raising awareness about the importance of accessibility and inclusion.
Lack Of Access
According to the World Health Organization, 15% of the world’s population (over 1 billion people) have some form of disability. Navigating public spaces for everyday tasks, such as going to the grocery store or entering a new business, can be a massive undertaking for people with disabilities.
From wheelchair ramps to braille menus, to service animal relief areas, the widespread lack of accessible accommodations keeps people from venturing out, traveling, participating in events and conferences, engaging in their communities, participating fully in the economy, and so much more. The global impact of exclusion is felt by individuals, families, friends, caregivers, communities, and businesses.
It’s staggering to think about.
What Does “Accessible” Really Mean?
That statement is usually the extent of information you can find in advance about a location without having to call ahead. But who made that judgment? Does it mean someone can get a wheelchair onto the sidewalk, through the door, to the counter, to comfortable seating, and to the bathroom, all without having to ask for help? Not likely. Accessibility hasn’t been given the attention it deserves.
The Ability App is going to change this.
About ability app
Knowing in advance where accessibility exists offers freedom and choice where it didn’t exist before. And we believe, wholeheartedly, that those choices will drive improvements in communities.
The Ability App is the solution to building a more inclusive world. Here's how.
The Ability App provides critical details, ratings, photos, comments and more, in a convenient, searchable app. Users can search mobility, vision, hearing, and cognitive accessibility features for hotels, restaurants, banks, and much more. With more than 15 (and growing!) rateable accommodations per each of the four main disability categories, people can simply search for restaurants with Braille menus, cafes with accessible seating, stores with low ambient noise levels, and so much more.
Information in the Ability App is crowd-sourced, with the ability for anyone to give a rating, provide a review, and include photos. We provide simple guidance on how to review a listing, whether or not you require the accommodation yourself, because we believe those with access have a responsibility to promote inclusion for all.
We invite a strong partnership with local businesses, who can add details about their locations, learn from user feedback, and grow their customer base by responding to needs. We will help you tackle challenges, find resources, and create meaningful connections with the disabled community.
Our rating system and the app itself are designed with accessibility in mind, including both numerical ratings and face-icon ratings that are preferred by some members of our community. The design is high-contrast, for those with vision-related impairments and the app is screen-reader friendly.
As part of our Ability Ambassador program, we are developing information on how to map neighborhoods and city blocks, so that service groups, school teams, or groups of friends can build up ratings in their communities. Help us map the world!
The Ability App is currently available in select markets as we test and iterate, and will soon be expanding in the US and then the global market. Join our email list and follow our social channels to keep up on the latest developments and to learn where we’ll be next! Also, keep an eye out for Ability App window clings, indicating businesses with an accessibility mindset.
When founder Alex Knoll was nine years old, he saw a person in a wheelchair struggling to open a heavy manual door to access a business in his hometown. Alex wondered if there was a tool the person could have used to find other businesses in the area that would be easier to access. To his surprise, no such tool existed. In fact, there was no tool available for people with any type of disability to find accessible public spaces. Alex was driven to help, so he set out to design a resource to solve the problem, which set him on a truly impressive, and unexpected journey.
Some people ask “What has taken so long?” to get from that initial idea to launch. Well, this isn’t your average start-up, and we think that’s what makes it so special. Taking the Ability App from idea to reality has relied upon a very large amount of volunteer hours and donations, including a generous surprise gift from the Ellen Show.
Alex has put 100% of funds raised from his speaking engagements into developing the app while connecting and collaborating with members of the world’s medical and therapy communities and many of the world’s largest organizations in the disability space. Those experiences and connections have shaped and continue to tailor the Ability App.
As you can see in the timeline below, Alex, along with his amazing parents, Anne and Brian, has remained dedicated to bringing the Ability App to the world. All while learning algebra, playing on the tennis team, and enjoying the life of a kid.