Everyone knows that technology is making our lives easier – from the mobile phones in our pockets, the handy birthday reminders from a certain social network, to the lifesaving data records held by hospitals. However, something that might not be so obvious to businesses is how the internet is making their venue more accessible to disabled people.
The sheer number of barriers preventing disabled people from trying somewhere new or making a spontaneous decision is not always obvious for non-disabled people. But if you take for example the supposedly simple task of meeting a contact in a coffee shop on the other side of town, and consider what that means for a powerchair user like myself, you’ll soon see that there are a lot more challenges for a disabled person to navigate. Not only do I need to consider the timings of public transport, but I also need to find out if they are accessible to me. I then need to find out if I will be able to enter the coffee shop, be sure that once inside there will be space for me to navigate my powerchair around the tables and chairs, and that they will have a toilet which I can use. In order to gain this type of information I would likely have to spend time researching online, contacting the venue, and possible reading long access reports full of information that might not be relevant to me and my requirements. Calling a venue may appear to be the quickest option, but that is not always possible, and it may not be helpful if the member of staff on the phone has no experience or knowledge on accessibility. As I hope I the example above demonstrates, even ‘everyday activities’ can become very stressful and time-consuming!
We created Euan’s Guide to remove the fear of the unknown that often accompanies visits to new places. The website allows disabled people, their family, friends and carers to find and share honest reviews on the accessibility of places around the UK and beyond. It also offers venues the opportunity to be listed on the website with information on their accessibility, letting more potential customers know about them.
Our mission is simple – to make it easier for disabled people to find great places to go. Here are my top five tips of how you can do just that with your online actions:
*Data taken from the Access Survey 2018, commissioned by Euan’s Guide, October – December 2018. Results available to download here: https://www.euansguide.com/access-survey
Euan’s Guide was a winner in the Diversity Category at the 2019 DigitalAgenda Impact Awards. The deadline to enter the 2020 Impact Awards is on the 16 December 2019 – if you are a trailblazer in UK tech for good, this is your last chance to enter.