Global News – Making A Difference By Susan Hay
Mon, Jan 11: A Ryerson student created the app Access Now, which uses crowd sourcing to collect and share accessibility information around the world. Susan Hay has the story in this week’s Making A Difference.
TORONTO Maayan Ziv is a former graduate of Digital Media with a passion for creating a more accessible world for people who use wheelchairs. At age 25, she may have done just that.
“AccessNow is a mobile app that is using crowd sourcing to collect and share accessibility information all around the world,” said Ziv.
“I got really frustrated with that process of phoning places and trying to find stuff online. I would show up at locations with information that was often very unreliable. Often, I would basically be faced with a step at the entrance and have to go home.”
Maayan’s idea became a reality when Ryerson University’s Master of Digital Media program helped her to gain the skills needed as well as make industry connections to bring her mission forward.
“When I look at my students, there is no one I’m more proud of than Maayan,” said Sean Wise, professor of entrepreneurship at Ryerson.
“The fact that she decided that there is an un-met market need and she is going to solve it. There is nothing more entrepreneurial than taking your own problem and turning it into a viable business.”
“So it works kind of like Wikipedia, in that people can rate locations, add their own information about locations, about accessibility,” said Ziv.
“AccessNow is really about building community. There are a lot of amazing people out there who have been contributing to the app and really vocal about their experiences with accessibility. The goal is to go worldwide so that wherever you are, it does not matter what you are doing, you can find the access that you need.”