This post was written by Click&Push Research Coordinator, Sydney Hampshire
Recently, the University of Alberta Library (UAL) partnered with local startup, Click&Push Accessibility Inc. (C&P), to create an indoor accessibility map of Cameron Library on North Campus. C&P are the builders of the mobile phone app, The Atlas.
The Atlas was built to help pedestrians navigate the outdoor built environment. It is a community-sourced, voice-interactive navigation app. The Atlas empowers digital citizens with accessibility information to help them access societal spaces. It ensures peace of mind and provides opportunities for equal participation through a crowd-sourced map.
C&P began their journey in 2018 after realizing that accessibility on campus could be improved. They started with the dream of helping students find classrooms on campus and grew to include a variety of accessibility information for all members and visitors of the campus community.
In the course of developing The Atlas, Click&Push has provided employment and training for 10 students and raised nearly $90k in federal and provincial funding. This has not only accelerated the development of The Atlas but also enabled students to develop a deeper understanding of their community and how they can bring about change by improving accessibility.
UAL recognized that improvements to accessibility could be made and, in Spring 2022, provided funding for C&P to develop an internal map of Cameron Library. The Atlas now shows specific indoor wayfinding and accessibility information to users of the library. It also allows users to readily add curated barrier information to the floor maps while automatically notifying library personnel of that accessibility issue. Thus, the Atlas gives students and library staff a way to communicate with each other using two-way, real-time notifications. A student can easily let library staff know if a powered-door button is out of service, or if a pathway is blocked based on their individual needs.
As a result of this work, Cameron Library has purchased adjustable height tables, two on each floor of the library. Also, they bought blinds for a few of the floors and made it so the elevator at the entrance to the library goes to the basement (for the accessible washrooms). This just a start to making our campus more accessible through this long-term solution.
We can all contribute to campus accessibility through the Atlas by adding accessibility information that we encounter in our daily lives. If you would like to begin using this app, please email email@example.com to download the app. You can also click, “Try Now” on C&P’s homepage: https://www.clicknpush.ca/.