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Ontology of accessibility in the context of wayfinding for people with disabilities.

Benner, Jessica (2017) Ontology of accessibility in the context of wayfinding for people with disabilities. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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There is evidence that objects in and of the built environment function as barriers or facilitators to accessibility for people with disabilities. Although there are many existing sources of information about accessibility, they often lack clear criteria to describe accessibility, explanations of barriers and facilitators to mobility, and coverage of multiple physical environments. Researchers have argued that wayfinding services (e.g., Google Maps) can help people with disabilities prepare to travel through the built environment, yet current wayfinding services include little to no information about accessibility. This dissertation aims to study accessibility, in the context of wayfinding, in indoor, outdoor and transitional environments for people who travel in wheelchairs and people with low to no vision. To this end, a qualitative ontological analysis of multiple sources of information regarding accessibility was conducted including analyses of important categories associated with accessible wayfinding; different information providers’ views on accessibility; and specific barriers and facilitators to accessibility. The results indicate that (1) people with low to no vision and people who travel in wheelchairs have different core wayfinding information needs, (2) a gap exists between the information people with disabilities and researchers provide on accessibility and that provided by standard guidelines, and (3) conceptualizing accessibility requires capturing actions performed by people with disabilities during every day travel along with characteristics of environmental objects. The resulting ontology could be leveraged to generate new criteria describing accessibility, new routing algorithms, or to attach provenance to existing accessibility criteria. The findings have implications for people who design wayfinding services and collaborative maps and people collaboratively collecting data on the accessibility of specific places.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Benner, Jessicajgb14@pitt.edujgb14
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHe, Daqingdaqing@sis.pitt.edudaqing
Committee MemberKarimi, Hassanhkarimi@pitt.eduhkarimi
Committee MemberCorrall, Sheilascorrall@pitt.eduscorrall
Committee MemberParmanto, Bambangparmanto@pitt.eduparmanto
Date: 21 September 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 4 April 2017
Approval Date: 21 September 2017
Submission Date: 31 July 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 734
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Information Sciences > Library and Information Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: physical accessibility, wayfinding, qualitative content analysis, ontology
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2017 18:32
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2017 18:32

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