Social distancing won’t last forever—and whenever it ends, iAccess will be ready.
Brandon Winfield sent us the following email last Monday, March 23: “The new version of iAccess went live today. We couldn’t have picked a better day for publication, ha ha.”
Ha ha, because that was the day state-at-home orders took effect in 10 states. Those measures put quite a damper on the rollout for v2.0 of iAccess, Winfield’s travel and entertainment app that’s of, by and for people with disabilities.
Billed as “the Yelp of accessibility,” iAccess is a phone-based platform that allows people with mobility impairments to rate public places for ease of access. Since the app’s launch last year, its users have logged reviews for more than 3500 theaters, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, gyms, malls and other facilities all over the country.
It was an impressive debut, and Winfield and his partners viewed 2020 as a potential breakout year. They didn’t expect half the country to hunker down to stop the spread of COVID-19. On the day iAccess 2.0 went live, arenas were empty, hotels were deserted and bars were closed all over the nation.
Per usual, Winfield shrugged off the setback. He’s bounced back from worse.
“The timing was unfortunate,” he wrote on Monday. “But that’s alright. We’ll still be here when everyone’s ready to start traveling again. And this gives us some time to build out some more features and upgrade a few things. We’ll be firing on all cylinders by the beginning of May!”
Hopefully it’ll be safe by then to venture back out into the world. But whether that happens in May or at some point thereafter, Winfield’s confident the traffic on iAccess will pick up where it left off. “I’m expecting there to be a surge once we go ahead and resume normal life,” he says.
You don’t have wait until then to download the app. You can get iAccess today, start reading up on all the places you’re not allowed to go to for now, and sketch out some plans for the future.
That forward-facing approach seems to come naturally for Winfield, who became a paraplegic 10 years ago after a motocross accident.
“I thought, ‘How are we gonna deal with it?'” he recalls. “‘Are we just gonna be sad about it and just kind of sulk and withdraw, or are we going to embrace it and go live life to its fullest?’ My whole thing with creating this app is to show people that there’s so much they can still do. Go out, do fun things, enjoy your life, and don’t be deterred by your disability. The point of iAccess is to encourage people to see the world and leave their mark.”