Friendly Like Me Bridges The Accessibility Gap For People With Disabilities And Those Living At Higher Weights
First of its Kind Web and Mobile App Set to Revolutionize The Social Lives of One-Third of the US Population and Those Who Love Them ~
San Diego, CA. March 2023 – Announcing a pivotal moment for individuals with accessibility needs across the United States, Friendly Like Me has officially launched a web, Apple, and Android app that revolutionizes how people can know before they go if a business is accessible to them. The platform is a beacon of hope for those seeking highly specific and helpful information about businesses that cater to and are “friendly” to people living with non-average bodies in a built-for-average world.
Nearly everyone knows and loves someone with a disability or unique accessibility need, and most of us will likely be in that category ourselves someday due to temporary disability or age. According to the CDC, 61 million adults in the U.S. live with disabilities, and a further 40% of United States adults are overweight, and a significant portion of those individuals experience accessibility issues due to size. This means that as many as a 100 million people in the U.S. alone battle accessibility issues, daily. This segment of the population plays a significant role in the U.S. economy. The American Institutes for Research reports the discretionary income for working-age persons with disabilities is $21 billion.
Lack of accessibility information is a major issue in this country. With one-third of the U.S. population in the target audience for this platform, Friendly Like Me is on track to become the largest and most reliable source of accessibility data available in the United States. The only dedicated accessibility platform that includes size and disabilities, Friendly Like Me provides a long-overdue solution by connecting individuals with businesses that are accommodating to people of all sizes and abilities. Uniquely poised and nimble to support the social and economic needs of both consumers and businesses, the platform is set up to expand with critical data for blind, deaf and neurodiverse communities as well.
Co-founded by Elysia Everett and Dave Jensen, Friendly Like Me was created to improve accessibility in public places and make accessibility information easier to find. Growing with the support of an enthusiastic community of reviewers, this crowd sourced review platform allows people to find and review accessible places on their device of choice. Users create an account, establish their preferences and then review places for the presence or absence of specific accessibility accommodations such as seating, accessible parking, roominess, noise level, etc.
Elysia Everett, the CEO of Friendly Like Me, speaks passionately about the individualism of disability. “People are more than just one thing, and accessibility means something different for everyone. Disability is very individual, sometimes temporal, always in front of us, and yet–continues to surprise us.”
“When businesses are not accessible they are missing out on revenue from these communities. Simple, cost-effective solutions to accommodate individuals of all sizes and inabilities exist, yet so many businesses are unaware or worry that “accessible means expensive,” continues CEO Elysia Everett.
“Companies may not realize how much business they are losing by not being accessible to individuals that represent a third of the U.S. population and over $20 billion in disposable income. It’s time for businesses to prioritize accessibility and inclusivity for all customers, regardless of their body size. With the power of this consumer driven platform and our collective buying power we will also be engaged with educating the business community about how inclusivity and accessibility are the greatest drivers of customer loyalty.”
According to co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Dave Jensen: “What strikes me about disability is how many of us experience it over the course of our lives. I never appreciated how hard it is to get around with access needs until I was temporarily disabled after surgery. But once you see inaccessibility, you can’t unsee it.”
Jensen continues: “People within the community have been asking for an app like this for many years, enabled with the ability to look up specific accessibility needs – to discover at their fingertips whether a place can accommodate them or not. For people with disabilities and access needs this platform can mean the difference between staying at home or being able to get out and enjoy life.”
How Does it Work?
Once a place is reviewed, its scores become available to anyone on the platform, allowing users to see at-a-glance how “friendly” a business is to specific communities, such as wheelchair users, or people of size. The app also delivers an ultra personalized search experience, and identifies how close the business comes to meeting the user’s individual preferences via a proprietary “Like Me” score. Businesses can claim their listings, create a profile of their accessibility accommodations, and provide specific instructions and extra information to potential patrons. Brands and advertisers partner with Friendly Like Me to get access to accessibility data in real-time, so they can target customers with specific needs.
Everyday, more businesses claim their listings and highly engaged users review specific accommodations. In addition to restaurants, bars and retail environments, the platform also features essential information about hospitals, sports stadiums (all NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB and March Madness stadiums are included), concert and music venues, conference centers and other major public gathering places are being added currently as well. National parks and beaches are on target for being populated before this summer.
Friendly Like Me is excited to collaborate with the plus-size and disabled communities and those who love them, all who are already reviewing businesses rapidly. The platform encourages businesses to claim their listing and welcome new customers.
Friendly Like Me is poised to become the gold standard source of accessibility data available in the United States. Unique in addressing people with disabilities and people of size, Friendly Like Me provides an essential solution for individuals with access needs and businesses ready to serve them. For more information about Friendly Like Me, please visit the website at https://www.friendlylikeme.com