Aesthetically: How Do The Designs of Each Map Differ?
Purely off aesthetics, St. Joe’s interactive map is a bit more organized than UPenn’s. As soon as you enter the Project Bloom website and click on the “Interactive Map” tab, a large, clear and well ordered design pops up, with color coded locations and a sidebar that guides the reader, by explaining what buildings correlate with what color. On the flip side, when navigating through the UPenn accessibility map, the design is a lot duller, and the map itself appears much smaller. Below, you can get a glimpse of what I am talking about:
However, that is not to say that one map is better than the other. Both maps do an incredible job of highlighting dozens of buildings around campus, and address with great detail whether they are accessible or not. For example, take a look at what both maps offer as descriptions to their buildings:
The specificity and detail that went into assessing every single building is amazing! But, what do these results really mean? In other words, how do the actual buildings of each campus compare to one another? Does one campus have more accessible buildings than the other?
St. Joes and UPenn: How Does the Accessibility of Each Campus Compare to One Another?
It is quite interesting, because St. Joes and UPenn had rather similar results when clicking back and forth between locations, reading about their buildings. For example, while exploring UPenn’s map, the first four dots read that the buildings were completely inaccessible. The inaccessibility ranged from the doors, bathrooms, narrow hallways and lack of braille signage. In comparison to St. Joes, the results were somewhat similar. For instance, there were certain buildings that lacked elevators, handicap parking, automatic doors, and handicap bathrooms. On the flip side though, both campuses definitely had their share of accessible buildings. I was surprised to see that a lot of the buildings at UPenn did have braille signage; something I certainly don’t see very often these days. In addition, the amount of gender neutral bathrooms that Penn had in relation to St. Joes was pretty shocking ; I stumbled upon a building at Penn that had 5 gender neutral bathrooms, and I think the most St. Joes had in a building was 2. Furthermore, there were a ton of buildings for both campuses that had ramps and handicap buttons for doors. The only huge difference I noticed between both maps, was that UPenn faced the challenge of obstructions throughout their campus. In total, there were nine obstructions ranging from construction to issues with stairs and walkways. This obviously derails certain students from taking those routes, however fortunately there were some alternative routes listed.
Do The “Results” of Each Map Mean Anything?
After looking over the interactive maps, it is clear that accessibility is not just an issue here at St. Joes. UPenn seems to be facing similar obstacles, especially in relation to buildings and the lack of accommodations there are to cater to the needs of everyone. Issues as little as incorporating accessible bathrooms in each building could make all the difference; and yes, there was a building on Penn’s campus where there was not even a bathroom (let alone an accessible one). Fortunately, through having interactive maps like these, we become even more aware of the issue of accessibility on campuses, and can work towards making a change so that future generations will hopefully encounter fewer issues in relation to this matter.