The idea of toilets being tourist destinations in their own right is taking off. This year Bill Forrester and Chris Veitch, both of whom will be speaking at the Australian UD Conference, were among the judging panel. The best accessible toilet award goes to Brisbane Airport – another topic for the UD Conference. Jill Franz will be talking about how they have made air travel for people with dementia much easier. Other award winners are from across the globe. Adelaide and Fraser Coast also scored an award. Overall winner was a toilet with a James Bond theme. A home made video of the winner – watch to the end –
Courtesy of the My Travel Research website.
You can read more and see better pics on the karryon.com.au website.
Now that Airbnb has taken over Accomable, they are able to offer more information about the accessibility of destinations and places to stay. Airbnb has introduced 24 filters that help travellers find listings that meet their specific needs, including roll-in-showers and step free access to rooms. The Assistive Technology Blog shows in detail how the site can be used.
Editor’s Note: Nadia Feeney from the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse will be speaking at the 3rd Australian Universal Design Conference about the work they have done on updating their database terms for accessibility across the spectrum. Chris Maclean from Local Government NSW will complement this with a presentation on their free e-learning course on inclusive tourism. And of course our keynote speaker Chris Veitch will talk more globally about inclusive travel and tourism.
This isn’t something from Transport for London, it’s from a blog site, Step Free London. It shows what can be done with transport maps when users know that attention to detail is everything. The personal experience sets it apart from other maps. An access icon can mean so many things, and this is shown in the legend of the map. For example it could be either: Full step-free access; Step-free access via ramp; Step-free access towards one direction; Out-of-station interchange; and Separate entrance for each direction, plus other combinations of partial access. The blog site has good information for map designers. It also contains all the latest information about travelling by train in London. There are similar maps available in Australia, such as City of Sydney accessibility map. The Citymetric site shows two tube maps for Paris – one for the general public and another with all the stations taken out that are not accessible. Then you see what a map really looks like to a wheelchair user or pram pusher for that matter.
The latest article on inclusive travel by Bob McKercher and Simon Darcy presents a systematic framework of the range of barriers affecting the ability of people with disability to travel. It is classified into a four tier framework from generic to specific. Below is an excerpt from the abstract explaining more about the four tier framework:
Previous studies tended to aggregate barriers into a single group … The failure to recognise the complex, yet subtle interplay between tourism and different types of barriers results in the tendency to see people with disabilities as a homogeneous group where a one size fits all solution applies. In reality, they are a heterogeneous cohort who face the same types of barriers as everyone, some barriers that are common to all people with disabilities, those that are unique to each disability dimension and specific impairment effects that are individualistic.
Inclusive tourism has received a lot of attention recently. One area that hasn’t had a lot of attention in Australia is accessible AgriTourism. A well designed conference poster published by Ohio State University encapsulates the key points. The poster poses this question: “Ohio has almost 700 farms with an agritourism feature, which brings visitors to vineyards, orchards, and corn mazes, but are these farms welcoming to everyone?” Using photos it explains how to make farms and vineyards more accessible to everyone. Tasmania also has a 2017 draft Agritourism Strategy, but it doesn’t say anything about inclusion and accessibility.
Editor’s Note: Sneak preview – inclusive tourism is a major theme for CUDA’s upcoming UD conference. Presenters include keynote Chris Veitch, Nadia Feeney from the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse, Bill Forrester from Travability, and Chris Maclean from Local Government NSW among others.
Three researchers from Monash University carried out a study to see if 3D printed models offered more information than tactile graphics such as maps. There were some interesting findings that were presented in a conference paper. The abstract gives a good overview:
Abstract: Tactile maps are widely used in Orientation and Mobility (O&M) training for people with blindness and severe vision impairment. Commodity 3D printers now offer an alternative way to present accessible graphics, however it is unclear if 3D models offer advantages over tactile equivalents for 2D graphics such as maps. In a controlled study with 16 touch readers, we found that 3D models were preferred, enabled the use of more easily understood icons, facilitated better short term recall and allowed relative height of map elements to be more easily understood. Analysis of hand movements revealed the use of novel strategies for systematic scanning of the 3D model and gaining an overview of the map. Finally, we explored how 3D printed maps can be augmented with interactive audio labels, replacing less practical braille labels. Our findings suggest that 3D printed maps do indeed offer advantages for O&M training.
Paradoxically, the freely available PDF version is in two columns and in Times New Roman font – both aspects that are not recommended for people with low vision or for screen readers. The full title of the paper is, “Accessible Maps for the Blind: Comparing 3D Printed Models with Tactile Graphics”. You can see a related article that found 3D models helped everyone’s understanding.
Airbnb has acquired Accomable, a travel site that focuses on accessible rentals. Accomable’s listings, which are live in more than 60 countries, will be rolled into Airbnb’s over the next few months. For hosts, Airbnb will offer detailed descriptions of what an accessible feature means, such as a “wide doorway” being defined as one that is at least 32 inches wide. Airbnb will gather information from hosts and pass it on to guests to make their own selection. So you will be able search for accessibility features by the room. The new access filter is available now on the web, and will arrive on Airbnb’s iOS and Android apps soon. There was a previous post with more information about Accomable.
Tourist and visitor destinations often offer guided experiences, but are the tour guides able to provide inclusive experiences for everyone? There are several studies on the experiences of tourists with disabilities, but few on the experiences of guides who have encountered people with disability in their daily work. Developing countries have become popular holiday destinations precisely because they offer different experiences and adventures. For example game parks, wilderness treks, and points of interest with different cultural perspectives. This is where tour guides are essential in interpreting the tourist experience. But do they have the skills and abilities to provide inclusive experiences for everyone? The results of research in Zimbabwe found that many tour guides did their best to support people with disability, but this often entailed undignified solutions, or no solution at all. The title of the paper is Tour guides experiences with tourists with disabilities, and provides an interesting perspective on inclusive tourism.
Expedia gets a good write up from the Accessibility Wins blog site. Curator Marcy Sutton went looking for inaccessible tourism websites for a project she was doing and said she found many. However, she liked Expedia and claims: “They have a skip link, labeled form controls and icon buttons, and intuitive navigation. They’ve made it easy to navigate with a keyboard and a screen reader”. The blog site is aimed at web page designers and developers. Other posts are a bit more technical such as Google Chrome’s Color Contrast Debugger which tests the colour contrast ratios. Useful for anyone needing to brief a web developer as well as web designers and developers.
Editor’s Note: I haven’t checked this site out personally, but it seems Expedia is keen for any feedback about the accessibility of their site.