EHU alumnus Jan Guardian (LLB, International Law 2011) has created a web service called ease-of-access.com that is designed to help people with disabilities all around the world find information about the accessibility of public places. Services include a map where every user can find or add data about accessibility in a particular location.
In Belarus there is a state social service that helps disabled people reach the places they would like to go. However, independent movement around the city for these people is often impossible due to lack of information about access for the disabled.
Ease-of-access.com is the first project of its kind in Belarus. It will allow people with disabilities to move around the city without problems. An additional unique feature is its crowdsourced self-correction mechanism. Users can make corrections to the data, which can either be confirmed or rejected by other users. This feature will help make sure data is accurate and up-to-date.
“I am often asked about this: yes, I developed everything for free. We planned to add unobtrusive advertising in order to pay for hosting and the domain, however, at the moment there are no ads,” says Guardian. He describes the benefits he derives from working on the project as “non-material”.
The project was awarded a grant from the United Nations Development Programme, which was spent on hosting, registration of domain, and annual support. Due to the fact that there were no programmers in Belarus that were ready to work for free, Guardian had to learn programming on his own. In the near future, the EHU alumnus plans to launch mobile versions of the service, as well.
Guardian’s other projects include Contrario Project, an interactive online research platform specializing in international criminal law and justice. Jan has also worked as a translator for both the Human Rights House Foundation and the International Monetary Fund Resident Representative Office in Belarus (Minsk).