Disability Services and Library Accessibility Services at York University are launching a mobile application that provides students, staff and visitors with quick and easy access to information using a mobile device.
Each of the units’ mobile-friendly websites under the Disability Services umbrella – Learning Disability Services, Physical, Sensory & Medical Disability Services, and Mental Health Disability Services – as well as Library Accessibility Services can be accessed at the touch of a button, saving users the headache of searching and clicking through mobile web browsers on their device.
The app essentially amalgamates relevant forms, contact information, program and workshop dates, document submission deadlines, and service locations and information into a comprehensive tool that can be used on the go. Key functions include direct links to websites such as Alternative Exams, Library Accessibility and the Assistive Technology Lab, an interactive map of Keele campus to help users locate buildings and an auto-dial function to call the Disability Services office directly from a cell phone.
The Disability Services (DS) app was specifically designed to be accessible and user friendly to those with disabilities, in line with the AODA Web Accessibility at York (http://aodaweb.blog.yorku.ca/)mandate. Design considerations such as using contrasting black and white colors, easy-to-red text, universal symbols, and a simple navigation menu cater to users with visual impairment, learning disabilities and other disabilities.
The DS app was developed, with Academic Innovation Fund (AIF) support, as a joint venture between Library Accessibility Services, Disability Services and the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Project (http://lds.info.yorku.ca/pilot-project-strengthening-transitions-for-students-with-autism-spectrum-disorders/). The Ministry of Training, Colleges & Universities (MTCU) has funded the project, which will also include new online resources, teaching strategies and workshops to help parents, students and faculty assist students with ASD. The app reaches beyond the scope of the project, to provide a mobile tool for students, faculty, staff and visitors to access and learn more about the diverse support programs, tools and services provided by Disability Services to the York U community.
The app’s availability comes at an optimal time, with the regular influx of students set to hit campus for the start of the fall session this September. It will be the second responsive mobile application to be developed by York University. York University’s Safety App, “Safer Together,” launched on Jan. 30, 2013. The DS app marks another step towards York University’s continued development of web tools and resources to make campus resources more readily accessible online.
The Disability Services app is available for free download on Google Play, the App Store and Amazon, and is supported by Android smartphones and tablets, Apple iPhones and iPads, and Kindle Fire e-readers.