Barriers to travel not the same for everyone

Picture of people carrying luggage up 56 step to the train platform. There is a wheelchair platform lift folded up at the bottom.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.

The full title of the article is “Re-conceptualizing barriers to travel by people with disabilities”, and is available from Science Direct, or directly from Simon Darcy on Research Gate.  Published in Tourism Management Perspectives.  

 

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Accessible Agritourism

People are looking at bright orange pumpkins piled in rows in a field on a farmInclusive 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. 

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Tactile or 3D?

A metal model showing a town layout in relief with Braille on buildings and streets. There is a church and lots of houses and a town square represented.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.

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Accessible Airbnb

Open plan room with grey couch and low white coffee table on a polished wood floor with rugAirbnb 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.  

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Visiting historic buildings and places

Front cover of the guide shows a black and white close up of an older hand on a handrail.Historic buildings and places not only hold cultural heritage and national identity, people also work, live and enjoy everyday activities in these places. But how best to maintain them and make them accessible to everyone? Once again Ireland has come up with a resource to help: “Improving the accessibility of historic buildings and places”. The booklet is designed to guide those responsible for historic buildings on how best to maintain, repair and adapt their properties. The chapters provide practical advice including: improving access in and around buildings, providing accessible information, and the process of preparing to improve access. It begins with the principles of getting the balance right, universal design and architectural conservation. More information on related topics can be found on the NDA website.   

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Good example of an accessible website?

screnshot of expedia websiteExpedia 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. 

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Easy Access to Historic Landscapes – A guide

Front cover of the guide with four pictures of people in different historic locationsHistoric landscapes, gardens and open spaces are there for everyone to enjoy. Historic England has produced a guide for anyone working to open up historic sites to a wider audience by providing easier access for all visitors. This revised edition of the 2005 guide promotes an inclusive approach to ensure that every visitor to an historic park, garden or landscape has a meaningful experience – not just physical access. Property owners and managers designers, and planners should find the guide helpful in tackling all aspects of the visitor experience. The key elements of the guide are:

1. Why access matters

2. Planning better access

3. Making access a reality

4. Published sources of information

5. Where to get advice  

This is a companion to Easy Access to Historic Buildings.  
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Galactic travel notes

Aircraft is taking off from a runway in outer space. there is a planet in the backgroundThe Restaurant at the End of the Universe may be a place to visit in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but many restaurants on Earth may as well be at the end of the Universe for some people. With the release of new Australian research putting the Accessible Tourism market at $10.8 billion and with the second Destinations for All conference coming up in October in Brussels, the need is greater than ever for leadership in the tourism industry. Accessible Tourism is still generally regarded as a physical access issue. There are some that have embraced a customer focussed experience model to create inclusive products and services. In his article, Disabled Traveller’s Guide to the GalaxyBill Forrester says that changing from an access model to a product development model is the key. This is a significant and growing market that is worth the investment of both time and money. Moving the language from “accessible” to “inclusive” tourism could be a good start. See also Local Government NSW free online learning program about creating inclusive places and activities for tourists and local residents alike. Many improvements can be made with little or no cost. So in the words of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, DON’T PANIC.

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Inclusive Tourism: free online learning

A graph showing the growth of inclusive tourismHow can you make an hotel, a place of interest, an event, or holiday accessible and inclusive? What’s actually involved and why should anyone bother? The answer to these and many other questions are found in a comprehensive e-learning program – and it’s free! The course was developed by Local Government NSW to help tourism operators make the most of their potential clientele. There are several modules and each has learning content followed by quick questions. You can access the course, the case studies and resources on the Local Government NSW website. 

The course was developed as a result of a collaboration with the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse when it became clear that information about accessible and inclusive tourist destinations and activities was often incomplete. Although this was developed with local council tourist centres in mind, the content is applicable broadly – including shops, cafes, restaurants and novelty places – anywhere for visitors whether they are local, interstate or international.

 

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Easy access to historic buildings – a guide

Front cover of the guide.Buildings from previous centuries didn’t consider access and inclusion, so the two don’t always go together well. Historic England has taken on the challenge with their updated guide, Easy Access to Historic Buildings. The guide also includes information for businesses and attractions within an historic site, such as shops and cafes that aren’t necessarily historic, but add to the overall visitor experience. The guide is comprehensive and replaces their 2004 edition. It can be downloaded in sections.

 

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