This startup aims to be the TripAdvisor of disability services

Clickability aims to help people with disabilities find the help they need.

Sites like Yelp give us choice when it comes to the restaurants we visit or the doctors we see, but that choice hasn’t been equally shared.

Founded by two women in Melbourne, Australia, Clickability is an online directory that allows local disability care and support options to be listed, rated and reviewed.

Dubbed a "TripAdvisor for disability support services," the concept may sound simple enough, but Jenna Moffat and Beecher Kelk’s plan is ambitious: The pair hope to make customers out of those with disabilities — empowering them to pick and choose what works for them, rather than simply having to accept what’s on offer.

Beecher Kelk and Moffat came up with the idea while employed as social workers. They noticed they kept drawing on their professional networks or using Google when trying to find other carers and support networks for clients.

"We were gatekeeping so much information, I was literally calling people I did my Masters with to ask about homelessness services, for example, or domestic violence services," Beecher Kelk said.

Clickability puts information on disability services in one searchable place. After a pilot program in the Geelong region in 2014, it expanded to cover the rest of Victoria, and in March, it launched in New South Wales.

Importantly, the startup’s mission aligns with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), a significant social welfare project for people living with disabilities currently being rolled out by the Australian government.

"We just saw this huge gap there in terms of consumer rights … In this industry, that’s a gap in human rights as well," said Beecher Kelk.

As Beecher Kelk pointed out, people with disabilities on the NDIS are in many cases expected to make their own decisions about which support service to choose. "Government money used to go to service providers to distribute services, and it’s now going to individuals to purchase the services that suit themselves," she explained.

Under the NDIS, support services will have to think about people with disabilities as customers. That means they have to start considering themselves competitively, she suggested, and putting work into marketing and customer service in a way they may not have before.

"Likewise, consumers have to start thinking about themselves as customers. How do I assert my customer rights? How do I articulate what I need? How do I get what I need?"

Unfortunately, in her view, the information to back up that decision-making is just not there, and it’s certainly not the kind of relevant, reliable peer-generated information that exists in other industries. That’s where Clickability comes in.

Kelk believes the site can reach profitability by allowing service providers to subscribe, although it will need an investment boost in the meantime. To list and rate services is free on Clickability, but subscribers can reply to comments and personalise their page, among other features.

The pair are now working on the project full-time, with the assistance of paid and volunteer staff. With more than 1,000 listings currently across Victoria and New South Wales, they hope to expand the platform nationwide.

Beecher Kelk also has ambitions to improve the accessibility of the site itself. In the next few weeks, they hope to deploy changes that will make it easier to use for people with low or limited vision.

"The big thing for us is how do we make this accessible for people with intellectual disabilities?" she added. "We also collect [reviews] in-person sometimes at conferences and events from people with all sorts of different access needs. It’s really important to us to find a way that everyone can have a voice."

Beecher Kelk said Clickability is most of all about empowering people with information. "We just saw this huge gap there in terms of consumer rights," she explained.

"In this industry, that’s a gap in human rights as well, because we’re not talking about ‘I won’t go back to that restaurant,’ we’re talking about ‘I won’t be able to get up in the mornings.’"

[h/t StartupSmart]

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