Improving campus accessibility continues to be a major priority and challenge for college campuses of all sizes. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that nearly 20% of undergraduate students report having a disability. Providing the right accommodations for them is an essential part of fulfilling the educational mission.
It’s not a surprise, then, that improving campus accessibility is a common goal in university strategic plans, facility master plans, and other strategic documents. That process is complex and requires participation from every unit on campus. But digital mapping solutions can play a major role in creating an accessible, welcoming educational community. Consider these three ways in which your interactive map can build that accessibility.
1. Showcase Accessible Campus Routes and Pathways
Perhaps most obviously, your digital mapping solution can drive accessibility through its core function as a wayfinding tool. Here, you can easily show the routes and pathways on campus that are accessible for visitors and students with disabilities. This new view can include walkways with ramps and other features that allow for barrier-free movement.
Traditionally, this information either doesn’t exist or lives on a separate campus map specifically designed to show accessible routes. By integrating it into your interactive map, you create a more inclusive wayfinding tool for users with disabilities. Then they can see the regular campus map (and all of the features you want to highlight) and the sections pertaining specifically to their needs.
2. Create an Accessibility Category for Your Digital Map
Speaking of accessibility integration: the right digital map solution also allows you to create an accessibility category that allows you to show far more than “just” those disability-friendly pathways. This category could house any amount of physical information you want to highlight, including (but not limited to):
- Handicap-accessible parking options
- Accessible and family restrooms
- Accessible entryways to buildings, especially for buildings with multiple entrances
- The locations of elevators within buildings
- And more
Gathering all this and other related information in an accessibility category brings a few advantages. First, you can showcase to all users how easy your campus is to navigate. In addition, you also create a hub of accessibility information that you can now link to in other communications, from emails to printed materials and more.
3. Provide a More Accessible Way to Navigate Campus
Finally, and depending on the campus mapping solution you choose, a core benefit of your interactive map is that even beyond showcasing accessibility, it is also in itself a more accessible way to navigate campus. Find the right platform, and you’ll get an interface specifically designed to be just as usable for users with disabilities as it is for all other audiences.
This sets your interactive map apart from more traditional means of campus wayfinding, like printed maps. Availability and usability for screen readers, keyboard-based navigation, and more can all help users with disabilities find their way around campus and get where they need (and want) to go.
Improving Campus Accessibility With the Right Interactive Map
Of course, these benefits only become a reality with a campus map solution specifically optimized for improving campus accessibility. That means not just making it easy to showcase any features of your campus that are accessible but also finding accessible ways to communicate that information to begin with.
That’s where Concept3D comes in. Our commitment to accessibility flows through every part of our products, including our interactive campus map platform. From keyboard navigation to clear contrasts and dynamic alt text for screen readers, our partners enjoy a digital mapping solution that can play a direct role in improving your campus accessibility. Contact us today to learn more about our solution and digital accessibility in general.