PhotoRoute gets a make over

We’re about to release a new brand new PhotoRoute system making it even easier to create maps via mobile devices. Tottenham Hotspur Foundation have received funding from the Premier League Charitable fund to roll out the new service across their services – register to keep up to date.

We’ve built on the mobile experience as used by Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

The mobile experience is that a visitor comes within range of a mapped facility and:

  • is able to input their destination to get the closest step free route to it
  • in addition to their location being shown on the map visitors have the option to select automated way-finding so landmarks change as they move through the journey
  • clients will be able to display other facilities around the journey which for a stadium may include food, merchandising and other accessible facilities
  • ability for visitors to choose access preferences (‘step free only’ or ‘steps are ok’)

Stage 2 will enable family members to privately publish a map and track journeys (via gps fob for those using printed maps), the technology will provide alerts should the traveller deviate off the chosen route.

busy street

What’s the issue?

People inherently learn to navigate themselves through landmarks. Normally when you ask for directions on the street, more often than not you will be told “make a right before the KFC” or “turn left past the gas station. PhotoRoute shows the user which landmarks to keep an eye out for.

83% of disabled people had ‘walked away’ from making a purchase, unable or unwilling to do so. The most important factor was inaccessible premises. Other important factors that discouraged disabled consumers from spending were poorly designed products and staff who were not disability confident, were rude or appeared prejudiced”. Disability Rights UK

There are many factors that may limit life opportunities of people who have support needs and independent travel is often the major barrier to overcome, for individuals with learning disabilities this is often compounded by anxious family members or support workers.

Providers of services have one opportunity to attract a new customer and often rely on DIY tools such as Google maps that don’t provide enough detail which reduces independent travel confidence. Enabled City uses the expertise gained from working with people with learning disabilities, who often have high information processing support needs, to provide inclusively designed Software as a Service tools, to give clients the tools to be inclusive of the widest possible audience, including including tourists, people with and without disability, parents with young children, people whose first language is not English, British Sign language users, and people who find traditional map reading difficult.

Inclusive or universal design is the design of buildings, products and/or services that are accessible to, and usable by, as many people as reasonably possible without the need for special adaptation. For a design to be inclusive it must respect the needs of people with mobility, visual and hearing impairments, learning difficulties, and people from different cultural and religious backgrounds”
Margaret Hickish, ODA, Responsible for Accessibility and Inclusive Design of the Olympic Park and Venues, London 2012

Our first tool Word-Bank (developed in 2006) helps large NHS websites break down language barriers by automatically hyperlinking an easier-to-read definition to popup window to explain the industry specific jargon, defintions can also be supported with graphics or animation.
Word-Bank won a BBC Innovation lab award and was independently proven to aid website comprehension by 100% by the former Disability Rights Commission. Word-Bank is also used by Get Yourself Active, a new project by Disability Rights UK to help bridge industry specific language between people with disabilities, County Sport Partnerships and NHS providers.

Through the process of developing Word-Bank, people with learning disabilities highlighted the difficulty of independent travel and way finding to new venues, so we developed what is now called PhotoRoute. GetYourSelftActive-banner

What is PhotoRoute?

PhotoRoute is a map authoring toolkit developed from travel training concepts used by people with learning disabilities, it uses photographic landmarks taken from the walker’s perspective. It was developed after winning our Visit London Gold award for earlier mapping work.
PhotoRoute has been used on 2 London 2012 Paralympic projects, the first being to showcase their 4 million pound access improvements to the South Bank. We provided 26 photo supported maps showcasing the new accessible routes along the Southbank and connecting rail and tube stations on both north and south of the river all with return journeys. PhotoRoute maps were freely accessible in print, website, on mobile devices and embeddable into other websites.
Our second Paralympic was to PhotoRoute map the GLA’s Olympic Mascots on their 5 Discovery Trails, helping people find the Olympic mascots via easy to navigate, step free walking routes while linking West, Central, South and East London together. olympic-mascotts-Blue-TrailWith the run up to the Olympic and Paralympic games London was (and feels like still is) a building site. PhotoRoute provided a flexible and efficient solution, the Greater London Authority then presented PhotoRoute alongside the inclusive design of the Olympic and Paralympic Stadium to the International Paralympic Committee at a Mayoral reception.

The GLA was delighted to collaborate with Enabled City on this project. The flexible nature of this small, innovative company allowed us to complete this project in an efficient timescale without compromising its quality or content. It is always a pleasure to work on projects like this, that benefit such a wide audience and showcase how the Greater London Authority is helping to make the SouthBank, and London, a more accessible and inclusive place”.
Julie Fleck OBE, Advisor on the Paralympics, London 2012 Unit at the Greater London Authority

PhotoRoute has since been used by:

  • Learning disability teams as a supported employment tool
  • Hospitals
  • Visit England
  • Tottenham Hotspur Foundation to increase grassroots participation and engagement
  • Tottenham Hotspur FC for match day experience

For more information register to test drive the new system or visit PhotoRoute FAQs