By Minh N. Vu
Similar to Trip Advisor and Yelp, AXS Map is a new customer review website/mobile app that allows people to review businesses on their accessibility to people with disabilities. Every business that opens its doors to the public can be reviewed. Hotels, restaurants, retailers, gyms: You name it – it’s on AXS Map ready to be reviewed. The mobile app will be available in December 2013 but website is up and running now.
Reviewers can provide a one through five-star rating for the accessibility of the entrance and restroom. They can also check boxes to indicate the presence of the following attributes: Quiet environment, accessible parking, ramp, second means of entry, and Braille. There is also a text box for comments. According to AXS Map’s founder, Jason DaSilva’s, blog, volunteers are also visiting businesses and collecting accessibility data for the site.
AXS Map’s focus is on what is important for most customers with disabilities: Being able to get into an establishment to enjoy its goods, services, and restroom facilities. We expect that this website and mobile app will be well-received by individuals with disabilities and their families to whom information about a business’ accessibility is important and, if accurate, very useful. That said, AXS Map could become a serious headache for businesses if reviews provide misinformation. We looked at the website and could not find a way for businesses to flag reviews as inappropriate or to respond to reviews that are unfair or inaccurate. AXS Map may also become a resource for serial plaintiffs looking for businesses to sue even if they have no genuine desire to patronize them.
We will be reaching out to the founder of AXS Map to follow up on these issues. In the meantime, read Time Magazine’s article about this new website: http://healthland.time.com/2013/10/14/wheelchair-inaccessible-the-story-behind-an-app-that-maps-obstacles-for-the-disabled/