AXS Map is the right path for improving disability rights

AXS Map is a mobile application intended to allow people with disabilities to search local businesses that offer accessible places (Ramachandran). This app – which is also available online – allows users to rate how easy it is to maneuver around the restaurant, store, and other businesses. AXS Map is meant to serve to disability rights in the social justice movement. Disability rights are meant to allow people that are handicapped equal rights with those who are not (Disability Justice). For example, because of disability rights, in a job hiring scenario a company can not refuse to hire a person just because they are disabled. As Light and Luckin said “socially-designed technology is not a magic bullet that will cure social injustice” (Light and Luckin 11). I agree with this statement because any social justice issue cannot immediately be cured overnight. Social justices often take time for the world to understand and I believe that AXS map is a positive step towards disability rights.

AXS Map was designed by Jason DaSilva – a young man with multiple sclerosis who has to move around in a motorized scooter (Ramachandran) . He came up with this application to provide more knowledge about handicap accessibility because other sources like Yelp offer limited information. This application is successful because it was created by someone who is not only knowledgeable in the subject of disability, but is also disabled. Light and Luckin discuss that it is difficult for people to design social justice technology when they are “ordinary” (Light and Luckin 13). That is not to say that people who are not related to the social injustice cannot create anything to benefit it. Jason is handicapped himself and even though he cannot speak for the entire handicapped population, he is placed at an advantage because he understands the inequality and can help those who have similar needs to his own.

For the most part, I feel that AXS Map is very accessible and easy to use because it is available on mobile devices and the computer. Because this application is available so easily, it feels more natural to those who need it unlike wearable technology such as Googlass, Mannglass, and Speedglass (Mann). Because wearable technology is not extremely common, it makes people stand out when they are using them. People who are physically handicapped – using a wheelchair, for example – already feel like they stand out amongst everyone else (Experiences of Being Disabled). Professor Gabriela Marcu explained that when she was doing her research studies, certain kids did not like using the wearable technology because they felt like it isolated them more from society. Even though a majority of her subjects did not have physical disabilities, the same thing applies to those with physical disabilities.

One disadvantage to this application is that even though it is easily accessible, it may be difficult for people with certain handicaps to use. For example, because this application was designed for mobile devices, people who do not have good fine motor skills cannot use AXS Map. What also comes into consideration is that certain cell phone applications (i.e. texting) was originally designed for people with disabilities (Goggin 91). With this being said, there are still people – even those who are handicapped – who do not have access to cellphones and computers. This not only limits the amount of people the application can reach but also limits the application to it’s fullest potential.

Overall, I feel that AXS Map is an excellent mobile technology for people who are physically disabled. This application is very easy for the public to use and to access. AXS Map could also open the eyes of companies and make realize that their businesses may need more accessibility for people that are handicapped. It is because of this that I feel this application will be a positive step for disability rights and social justice.

 

Citations:

AXS Map. (2014, January 1). Retrieved March 4, 2015, from http://www.axsmap.com/

Disability Justice. (2014, January 1). Retrieved March 8, 2014, from http://disabilityjustice.tpt.org/

Experiences of being Disabled. (2011, September 1). Retrieved March 5, 2015, from http://www.liberateyourself.co.uk/disabled-students/defining-disability/the-impact-that-disability-can-have-on-the-individual/

Goggin, G. (2006). Cell phone culture: Mobile technology in everyday life (pp. 90-96). London: Routledge.

Light, A., & Luckin, R. (2008). Designing for social justice: People, technology, learning. (pp. 11-15). FutureLab.

Mann, S. (n.d.). Chapter 1. Retrieved March 5, 2015, from http://wearcam.org/VeillanceContract/VeillanceContract.htm

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One thought on “AXS Map is the right path for improving disability rights

  1. I believe this is a unique form of user created design. In the example of AXS Map the lead designer,Jason DaSilva, was designing an app in which he himself would be a user. Like you said, he is knowledgable and also disabled. AXS is an application that I have tried to get my grandmother to adopt. She uses it on her tablet in North Carolina, but since she still has a flip phone her mobile device cannot use the app. I’ve found that she uses the app to pre-plan her day which a lot of elderly could do.

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