Recording location accessibility

I’ve had discussions with AccessAble who do accessibility assessments of locations.

The gist of initial conversations was that a simple taxonomy of accessibility terms might be suitable to convey some simple information (e.g. does a location have hearing loops), but that more detailed information on accessibility is normally required, such as the type of ramps in place and the width of doorways.

AccessAble, and probably other organisations, publish open information on accessibility of locations with a web page per location. They would therefore like Open Referral UK to support publishing a URL to such a page for each location.

At present, the standard just makes provision for free text information on a location’s accessibility, so I’m going to propose that the next version adds an optional “location accessibility URL”.

All comments on that proposal carefully received.

Thanks Mike, will be great to hear ideas for how this will link with Well Aware and the listings we have

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Following my chat with @LydiaBrunt of The Care Forum today, my understanding is that we need an accessibility link field to hold a URL going to a page describing the accessibility of a location. Such a page can give detailed accessibility information and pictures to help people assess how accessible a location is to them. Here’s an example such page for Bristol Citizens Advice prepared by AccessAble.

The current Open Referral UK data structure (see guidance) uses the international Open Referral structure that allows for one or more entries of free text describing the accessibility of each location.

The Placecube Open Place Directory actually implements something different. It currently uses an enumeration of accessibility types. For example, this Blackburn service has a location with accessibility types of:

  • accessible-toilets
  • bus-nearby
  • visually-impaired-friendly
  • lift-available
  • adaptive-to-physical-needs
  • parking
  • wheelchair-accessible
  • disability-parking

My understanding from speaking with AccessAble is that some such categories are incontrovertible and so such a list might be useful, but some headings like “wheelchair accessible” are subjective and need more details that can only be provided in dedicated web pages for each location.

It therefore seems that the accessibility_for_disabilities data structure for each location might need these three optional properties:

  • accessibility - free text field as at present
  • accessibility_url - for a link to a full page on accessibility
  • accessibility_taxonomy - to support what Placcube does, but ideally via an external taxonomy rather than an enumeration

It would be good to get feedback on this. @pbrown may wish to comment as the query arose in respect of Placecube’s Bristol directory which has services with locations for which accessibility web pages are available.

Hi Mike - thank you for adding further detail on this. AccessAble are happy to support any conversations required.

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Thanks @calightley and good to see you here as accessibility information is so important to our users.