Date of Award
Master of Science
Roger O. Smith
Brian K. Schermer, Joyce M. Engel
Accessibility, Ada, Disability, Mobile Application, Participation, Universal Design
OBJECTIVE: The study addressed the research question, "How does accessibility information about restaurants affect the diversity of restaurant choices for people with disabilities compared to others who only have general review information about restaurants?" The literature describes that people with disabilities experience limited participation in community activities. One community activity is dining out at restaurants. It is hypothesized that the availability of accessibility information will diversify restaurant choices, as it would minimize the risk of encountering unforeseen barriers that enable them to prepare for ones that they anticipate.
METHOD: Participants (N-14), half with disabilities and half without disabilities, selected dining experiences at 5 restaurants. They chose restaurants from a unique list of 10 restaurants composed of 5 restaurants they had visited and 5 restaurants they had not. Participants were assigned to either a group that received restaurant accessibility information through the Access Ratings for Buildings (AR-B) website (intervention) or a group that received general review information about the restaurants through Yelp.com (control). They were asked to review their respective website information as they chose 5 restaurants for dining. The number of restaurants that participants chose were compared among the 4 groups to address 3 hypotheses. Questionnaires completed by the participants provided qualitative data and informed the researchers about the participants' decision making process as they were selecting restaurants.
RESULTS: One of the 3 apriori hypotheses was statistically supported. On the other hand, qualitative data consistently supported the theoretical underpinnings of the study. Hypothesis 1 posed that people with a disability using the AR-B website would select more new restaurants than participants with a disability that used Yelp. The results did not reveal a significant difference. Hypothesis 2 posed that participants without a disability who used AR-B would chose a similar number of new restaurants as those without a disability who used AR-B. This was supported. Hypothesis 3 stated that participants with a disability who used Yelp would select fewer new restaurants than participants without a disability who used Yelp. This was not statistically supported. To the contrary, the overall visual analysis of the data showed consistent trends supporting the underlying theoretical constructs that AR-B information affected the restaurant choice. Additionally, qualitative analysis of questionnaire data showed that accessibility is a highly valued feature for restaurants and that the accessibility information provided through the AR-B app was beneficial to people both with and without a disability.
CONCLUSION: While this small study did not find statistical significance on the effects of using the AR-B website information during dining selection, it corroborated that restaurant accessibility is a commonly valued feature for restaurant patrons and that people with disabilities find benefit from accessibility information about public buildings. People also seem to select more new restaurants when they read web-based restaurant reviews of any type during their decision-making.
Baumann, Rachael Nicole, "Effect of Accessibility Information on Restaurant Selection of Consumers with Disabilities" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 990.