Google recently announced a new Google Maps feature that will help users know ahead of time whether your business is “wheelchair accessible”. People looking for accessible businesses and places are activating the new “Accessible Places” feature on their Google Maps app to make it obvious which ones are wheelchair accessible.
This information isn’t only useful for wheelchair users, but also for anyone using other assistive devices such as walking canes, crutches, and walkers, and those with prams and strollers.
If you let Google know that your business is an accessible place, then a wheelchair icon will show on your listing to indicate whether it has an accessible entrance and then we should also see whether your business has accessible seating, restrooms, lifts and parking.
If you opt to say that your business doesn’t have one or more of these features, then Google Maps will show this.
Below is an example of how your Google listing might appear.
The icon also shows in other sections on your Google listing:
This is a great feature that was long overdue because people want to know whether a place or business has wheelchair-accessible parking, a wheelchair-accessible entrance, wheelchair-accessible seating, wheelchair-accessible restrooms, a wheelchair-accessible lift and anything else that is wheelchair friendly.
How to add the “wheelchair-accessible” icon
All it takes to add the label to your Google Maps listing is to go into your Google My Business account and add it as an attribute. Follow the instructions on the Google website. If you make a mistake, you can always edit the listing.
Criteria for the different attributes (Source: Google):
Google has set some criteria for using the attributes in your listing.
The following is an excerpt from their website:
Answer yes if the entrance to the business is approximately 3 feet wide and doesn’t have steps. 3 feet (or 1 meter) is approximately the minimum comfortable width for two people to stand right next to each other. If there are one or more steps, there should be a permanent ramp or, at the very least, a moveable ramp. Entryways that consist of only revolving doors should be marked No for this attribute.
Answer yes if the entrance to the restroom is at least one meter wide and can be reached without going up or down steps. If a person in a wheelchair would need to enter a stall inside the restroom, the stall’s entrance also needs to be one meter wide. (Remember, one meter is about the width of two people standing comfortably side by side.)
Answer yes if the main area of the business can be accessed without stairs and there’s enough space for someone in a wheelchair to navigate to and sit at a table. If all tables are high (e.g. at standing level), the business isn’t wheelchair-friendly.
Answer yes if there’s a parking spot specifically marked for those with accessibility needs. These spots are often marked with specific painting on the ground, placards, or signs (depending on your country and/or region).
Answer yes if a place has multiple floors and there is an elevator that is large enough to accommodate a wheelchair.
Watch Google’s Introducing Accessible Places on Google Maps video below: