May 22, 2018 - El Poché

Ample is similar to other popular review sites, but it’s the first that rates doctors, services, and all types of establishments specifically on their accessibility and inclusiveness towards people in marginalized bodies (fat, trans, and disabled, for now). You can search for businesses to discover what others are saying and then rate and review establishments, both positively and negatively, on the job they’re doing.

Image description: Five people face the viewer with big smiles on their faces. They are meant to represent some of the wonderful diversity of embodiment. On the left, a very fat, masculine PoC holds up a flag with Ample’s logo on it. Next to them is a short, transmasculine person with the Trans Pride flag on their shirt and wearing glasses. To the right of them is a slender PoC; they are an amputee and using a crutch. A fat, blonde, feminine-presenting person stands next to him. The Ample peach logo is on her shirt, and she is wearing shorts and a hot pink baseball cap. Lastly, next to her, is another PoC. Ze is wearing a pink stocking cap, and hir shirt has the LGBT Pride flag on it in the shape of a heart.

What motivated the creation of Ample?

Ample was originally envisioned as a way for fat people to track feedback on medical providers. (We’ve been there; you receive attentive care from your doctor when playing the “good fatty,” but as soon as you divest from diet culture, the pushback is real!) We understood a lot of reviews of medical providers already existed across fat communities, and we hoped to consolidate this information into an easily-searchable platform with multiple, up-to-date reviews per provider.

We soon realized that there are many other types of establishments that could use our collective knowledge: restaurants, theaters, coffee shops, stores, service providers… the possibilities are endless. Also, what about others in traditionally-marginalized bodies, or those who live at the intersections of multiple identities? How can we make the internet sleuthing— of whether a business has armless chairs, or a ramp, or a staff who respects gender pronouns— easier for the people who need this information? Ultimately, we want Ample to be a community-generated accessibility tool, so we can exist more comfortably in our non-conforming bodies while out in the world!

Why does Ample cater to fat, trans, and disabled people, instead of just one of these groups?

Because we want our efforts to be pro-intersectional. People of multiple marginalization have different experiences than one alone, and it’s important to look at the overlapping needs within the community. You may not seek accommodation for all of these as an individual, but it would be helpful to patronize the businesses that do. By aggregating our experiences in non-conforming bodies, we can help each other!

One inquiry that has come up is, “Why doesn’t Ample have reviewing functionality with regards to race and/or ethnicity inclusivity?” This was originally part of the plan for Ample. However, the two founders are not People of Color (PoC), so instead they’ve held off including this feature and are waiting to hear from the community on how to proceed. We’d love to add this functionality if it continues to be requested, but under the guidance of one or more PoC on our team. If that sounds like leadership you would be willing to contribute, please get in touch! It was a mistake for us to delay BIPOC inclusivity functionality. We have added it!

What features can I look forward to?

We have a lot of new features in the works. Fortunately, we can be quite agile with our software development because Ample’s programmer is ‘in house’ as one of our founders. Tops on the ‘To-Do’ List is a more robust profile for Ample reviewers. We’re looking to add more social components; for example, a feed of reviews in your geographic area, reactions to other people’s reviews, the ability to bookmark businesses you’re interested in, and your history of activity on the site.

Also high on our agenda: functionality to upload photos to your review, and an option to manually add a business that doesn’t show up in search. Ample currently relies on the Google Places API, which means any place in the world that Google recognizes as a business is available for you to review. However, we understand there are services and businesses that don’t have a brick-and-mortar storefront, or who might otherwise not [yet] be recognized by Google Places. We haven’t forgotten about you!

And of course, native mobile apps for iPhone and Android are on the agenda! We think the site performs well in a browser tab on your phone, but it’s always nice to have a native app.

How will you be paying the bills?

Right now we are footing the bills ourselves, but in the future we will probably need to curate some advertisement space for revenue, or seek some grant funding to keep the lights on. We are a volunteer team; do you want to join us?

What’s some of the other feedback you’ve been getting?

We’ve been getting a lot of love, which we are radiating right back atcha! But also, we dearly love any and all feedback on Ample. We want this to be something our communities have a hand in creating and ultimately find useful.