Accessibility Apps for Wheelchair Users

By Andy Darnley

Smartphone technology changed how people access information and go about their daily activities. After all, why go to the bank when bank business can be conducted via the bank’s app? Wheelchair users’ lives have also been changed by smartphones as well as technological advances in other adaptive technologies. Smart home technology allows people with mobility issues to independently complete daily living tasks. Apps can also allow wheelchair users to plan road trips with knowledge of where accessible facilities are located or organize their medical information for their next doctor appointment. A wide variety of apps and other smart technologies are available to help people optimize their daily lives, and for those with a physical handicap, these tools can be especially useful.

  • Best Smartwatches, Bands, and Trackers for Wheelchair Fitness-Tracking: A variety of smartwatches are now able to track the fitness statistics of wheelchair users. This review covers the options available that best fit the unique needs of wheelchair users.
  • Briometrix: Briometrix is a fitness app designed for people using wheelchairs. It is also a navigation app that accounts for the terrain and the user’s fitness level. It then uses that information to design the best route for the user.
  • Google Maps: Google Maps now shares accessibility information for public transportation. The app lets you know what bus routes and subway stations are accessible for wheelchair users.
  • How Do Alexa and Amazon Echo Help Disabled People? Virtual assistants are an exciting advance in adaptive technology. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to decide how a virtual assistant will enhance the user’s life. The writer of this article, a blind advocate for digital inclusivity, details how this virtual assistant works and how it can benefit the disabled here.
  • ICE Standard ER 911: This app allows users to fully enter their emergency information (including any allergies, preexisting conditions, and emergency contacts). This information is then accessible from their cell phone’s lock screen, enabling EMTs and other emergency personnel to quickly access it. People whose medical conditions can lead to emergency situations may find this app incredibly helpful.
  • Lonely Planet Accessible Travel Online Resources: Lonely Planet is a hugely popular publisher of travel guides, and they have assembled a comprehensive handbook of accessible travel resources organized by country, which can be a huge help when planning an overseas trip.
  • MyTherapy: Remembering which medicine to take when can be difficult. This app allows the user to enter their medication schedule and will alert them when they are supposed to take medicine or complete another medical task. If the user doesn’t mark the task as complete, the app can be programmed to alert an emergency contact. It also allows the user to print out any data collected by the app, which can then be shared with health providers.
  • Passenger Assist: Anyone traveling through the United Kingdom via rail will find this app very helpful. Passenger Assist allows disabled riders to ask for assistance at any station on their trip and let station staff know exactly what kind of help they require.
  • Personal Emergency Response Systems: Adaptive technology can be used to increase independence for wheelchair users. One big concern is falling from the chair, which is a particular danger when transitioning from the chair to another location. This article discusses how personal emergency response systems (PERS) work and how they aid both independence and safety.
  • PhysioTherapy eXercises: Maintaining a consistent exercise routine can be difficult for wheelchair users. This exercise app is designed for people with injuries and disabilities. Users can choose an appropriate exercise routine that can be done from their chair.
  • Symple: Managing health conditions and keeping track of information for doctors can be difficult. This app-based health journal allows the user to log their symptoms and other health information daily and share the data with their healthcare providers. The app can also be used to track the performance of wheelchairs and other mobility devices.
  • Wheelmap: Wheelmap has a global map that is updated by users with comments and pictures about the wheelchair accessibility of locations.
  • Wheelmate: This crowdsourced app allows wheelchair users to find accessible restrooms. Other users of the app mark the location and rate the accessibility level of the restroom, and information about accessible parking is also provided. Since it is updated in real-time, users are reassured that the information is current and correct.