AbleRoad is a free app and website that helps persons with disabilities find local hotels, restaurants, entertainment and businesses and rate them -- a la Yelp -- based on their accessibility.
The app is designed to enable users -- which include friends, family, and caregivers of persons with disabilities -- to search for things in their area, get and share information, and add their own ratings, which takes just a few taps on one's phone or tablet.
On searches, AbleRoad displays ratings, reviews, and the distance from you current location.
The app screens for four type of impairment:
- Mobility: including parking, restrooms, ramps, and access to counters and registers
- Sight: including public transportation, announcements, and availability of information in braille, large print, or on an accessible website
- Hearing: including closed captioning, VideoPhone/TTY, ASL staff, and strobe fire alarms
- Cognitive: including illustrative communication, spaces clearly marked, live phone support, and readily available assistance.
Users can rate businesses based on issues specific to their impairment. For example, a blind or visually impaired person can submit ratings that address:
- Public Transportation
- Website Accessibility
- Braille Information
- Large Print
- Phone Information
- Sufficient Lighting
- Vision Signage
- Staff Assistance
- Guide Dog/Service Animal
Downloading & Using AbleRoad
You can download AbleRoad for free through the App Stores or iTumes. You can reach the right iTunes page quickly by clicking the app icon in the upper right corner of AbleRoad's home page.
AbleRoad version 1.1.2 is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 (optimal), iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Size: 2.5 MB. Note: An Android version is expected in the spring of 2013.
To use AbleRoad, you must set up an account, which you can do in three ways:
- Register using your Facebook account
- Register through your iOS device after downloading the app
- Create an account through the AbleRoad website.
You'll be prompted to enter your name, a username, email address, and password. Once AbleRoad verifies your email, you're ready to roll.
Once registered, login to your AbleRoad account.
There are three buttons at the bottom of the home screen: "Nearby," "Search," and "Settings." The "AbleRoad" button returns you to the home screen.
To find places immediately, click "Nearby" and choose a category from the list the app displays. Choices include: Restaurants, Food Markets, Beauty and Spas, Health & Medical, Car Rental, and Religious Organizations.
Upon category selection, RoadAble returns the top 20-rated Yelp locations.
Each numbered result has a Yelp star rating and reviews on the left side of the screen. AbleRoad reviews are displayed to the right, along with the distance to the location.
When you tap a destination, you're taken to its page that includes the address, a photo, a link to its Yelp reviews, and the AbleRoad rating summary at the bottom.
To add a review, click the + sign at the top of the screen and fill in the fields. Assign 1-5 stars, 1 being the poorest possible rating, and, if desired, add comments in the text box above the "Access Rating" categories.
You don't need to fill out all the access rating selections. The overall star rating is tabulated automatically; unrated sections are not counted.
To upload a photo, click "Add your Picture" below the Access Rating section on the left hand side of the screen. At present, photos can only be added to reviews.
As AbleRoad is a new, crowd-sourcing site and app, there are likely few accessible listings in your areas. AbleRoad needs people to populate the service with content.
Some locations may be discoverable on Yelp, but not AbleRoad. In such cases you can try adding a qualifier or other detail to the "Where" search box, e.g. a street name, a city district, or neighborhood.
If you find location that appears on neither AbleRoad or Yelp, you can add it to Yelp and it will come up on AbleRoad.