Transcript for "Map Your Community's Usability: A New Tool To Empower Consumers"

This information is available in PDF format upon request.

Webcast held 03/05/14


>>Val Renault (moderator): Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us.

We are recording this and we'll be able to archive the audio and the video online within two weeks after today. So again, welcome.

This seminar is called “Map Your Community's Usability: A New Tool to Empower Consumers,” and your presenters today will be David B. Gray, PhD, and Jessica Dashner, OTD and OTR/L from Washington University in St. Louis. And there you see them in the flesh. So they will lead the webcast. Right now I’m Val Renault. I’m with Glen White and Martha Hodgesmith at the University of Kansas. We're with the parent center for the RTC/MICL team. MICL stands for the Research and Training Center on Measurement and Interdependence in Community Living, and that's the center that this project was conducted under. This project was funded by NIDRR, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, for which we are grateful.

And just before we start, back to the housekeeping a little, please mute your phone for the first portion of the call. We do want to hear from you in the latter part of the webcast, so at that time you can unmute -- excuse me, unmute to ask a question or you can type a question into that chat box. And if you have a problem during the session, you can also type it into that chat box and we'll keep track of it. And then as I said, the presentation will be archived. And of course at the end of the presentation, we'd love to hear how it went for you, so we'll send a survey out to all of you with the contact information. Jessica, I'll hand it over to you for today's agenda and to get started.

>> David: This is David Gray.

>> Jessica: And Jessica Dashner.

>> David: We're in St. Louis, Missouri. We're really pleased that there's 68 people on the line. Jessica and I and many others have worked on the system for about 10 years now. And we hope this will be of interest to you and that you can commence using it. So that's what we're going to be talking today about, and we're going to show you some websites online that you can use in your community to share the community health and environment checklist (CHEC). And we're going to ask for your opinion to tell us which ones you think are best or how to improve them. Thanks.

Now we move on to the first preview of a community usability map. And as you can see, the more you get, the more cluttered it is. So this was one of our early attempts, and the more we got, the worse this got.

So let's move on and show you the next. This was our next iteration. And in this one, you can first check whether you're interested in mobility, low vision, or hard-of- hearing usable community sites. And once do you that, you can select what type of site you're interested in. In this demonstration, there's an arrow that points to the restaurants, and you can see a bunch of pins there.

Now, if you look over to the right, you can see there's three restaurants, one that you may have heard about, Blueberry Hill with Chuck Berry. It scored a 78. The entrance is fine, but not all parts of the building are accessible. The elevated room, you can't get into it. Sorry. Okay? And if you looked at number three, you probably don't want to there if you use mobility device.

In a little more detail, this is an Applebee's Neighborhood Grill. And you can see the information a lot more clearly. And this gives you a chance to look at the scale. So each of those popups, every time you hit one of those numbers, you can get this kind of display.

Now, this is an example of the CHEC scores for three different disabilities. For people who have mobility limitations -- I happen to be one -- so this is of interest to me in particular, and so this store, bookstore, I love books. I threw away all of those that aren’t going to be too user friendly for me. Now we have people with low vision. It looks a little more friendly there. For the deaf and hard of hearing, that's not too friendly, either, so they need to do a little work.

Now, why do we call it use ability versus accessibility? We all know, and I was in D.C. when this went through. That gives you a hint to my age. The Americans with Disabilities Act, you know. The hope was that this would straighten up and make everything accessible to people. And it is a law, and so we needed to figure out some way, of what does all this mean in terms of measurements? So we developed, people developed the Americans with Disability Act Accessibility Guidelines. Now that's revised in the U.S. 2010 standards.

Usability describes how individuals interact with their environment. And that's a broader term, because some spaces that can pass an ADA inspection are still not usable. And this usability assessment covers a whole lot of things that aren't covered in the actual ADA, especially low vision and hard of hearing.

So the tools behind the maps, so the CHEC, Community Health Environment Checklist, has the purpose of providing an objective measure of physical and social environments, including features important to persons with disabilities. And it's kind of a neat transition here as we went from having groups of people tell us what was most important and ranking them and then looking at buildings with those features. So this rank orders a lot of the features in the building rather than just giving you a list of all the features that an engineer or building designer can look at. So what we want to do is focus on those building features that are most relevant to people with disabilities who have either a mobility, hearing, or vision impairment. We did not have the expertise to develop one for the deaf or blind. Focus on more of those who do that for those groups.

So this is a tool developed by people with disabilities for use by people with disabilities to evaluate government spaces, public areas in their community. And it began as sort of a general tool for community members interested in making their building accessible. I was on the board for Paraquad for several years, which is our independent living center, and a lot of this was motivated by my acquaintance with people being served by Paraquad and people on the staff. So I think this is an interesting tool for independent living centers to use to establish a baseline for their 704 about community accessibility and community participation. So our goal is to provide pragmatic solution to problems encountered. Our mantra is can a person a disability get in, participate fully, and leave without difficulty? But this is not a legal ADA assessment. It's not pursuing people.

Okay. How do we develop this? This is sort of egg head, intellectual, but it's kind of interesting, anyway. We reviewed all the literature. We came up with some methods. We had key informant interviews. That is, we asked people with different disabling conditions what was important in terms of buildings in their community that would make it easy to get there. Then we had focus groups and they all talked about it and they drew up maps of their community to depict what was accessible and what wasn't. Then we did a survey and we came up with feature rankings by these people and the rank order of these features, like curb cuts and automatic doors and whatever. And you get a list of the most important ones and the least important, and then we develop the scoring algorithm or setup so that the most important features get the most points.

And then we wanted to make sure that this could be done reliably by different trainers and even within single trainers, so we established some training sessions for raters. It came out pretty good.

Now, these are the destinations that are currently used in our measurement tools. And it pretty much covers every kind of building. You can argue about whether they're organized in a particularly good way, but we took that from the building industry, so we have to blame them.

Moving along. So we have a shorthand way of talking about these. The CHEC Mobility is called the CHEC-M. The CHEC Vision is CHEC-V. The CHEC Hard of Hearing is CHEC-HOH. This is just to show that you we have a general CHEC measure. We also developed more specific measures to doctor's offices, houses of worships, parks, and so on and so forth that you can use if you really want to take a look at a doctor's office and find out if it has waiting rooms where you can put your chair and if it has exam tables that are electrically powered and all that good stuff.

So what we're doing today is just the beginning of it. So the scores range from zero, which is pretty horrendous, to 100, which is perfect. And so the higher scores say it's more usable, has a higher receptivity or welcome to people with disabilities. So the scoring is weighted so that items with high importance can contribute more to the building score. And the items are scored yes, no, or not applicable. So yes and NA, not applicable, get the same values. We don't want to penalize places that don't necessarily have to have a drive in.

Now I'm going to turn it over to my colleague, Dr. Dashner.

>> Jessica: I'm going to talk to you a little bit more about some of the instruments that we use, so the CHEC surveys. We'll first talk about the CHEC-Mobility. And the CHEC-Mobility has 22 features. So we indicated that we had people with disabilities, so in this group, people with mobility impairments ordered these features. So number one being the most important feature. It's no surprise the entrance was the most important feature for the mobility group, followed by curb cuts, automatic doors, accessible bathrooms, and having an elevator for the site not on a single level. So to give you a little bit more depth of it, I want to kind of show you, take you through some items on the CHEC mobility. So this is going to give you an idea of how we actually use the CHEC. So there's a picture --

>> Val: Hey, someone on the line needs to mute their phone. I'm sorry, Jessica.

>> Jessica: That's okay.

>> Val: Ma'am, would you please mute your phone? Okay, Jessica. Go ahead.

>> Jessica: So at the top of the screen, there's an image of a fairly dreamy entrance to a facility, but down below you've got kind of a sampling from the CHEC mobility. So the item reads, "The route to the entrance is free of loose gravel, large cracks, debris, and uneven pavement." So on this one, we would say that's a question. The route excluding the ramps is relatively flat, a slope of 1:20 or less. And you can you tell that's a pretty even slope. And the width of the route is about 36 inches wide. So we would go yes to that as well. And then it asks if there's a ramp present, so we would say no to that, and it skips to number 13. These are the scores that would be associated with that. And this is the information that allows us to populate the map. So it's kind of a systematic way in which we collect the information we get on the map.

So the next slide kind of is taking the same items through a less usable space. In this sample, we would score no to the entrance being free of loose travel, large cracks, debris, and uneven pavement. In this case, the route is relatively flat, so it does get a yes for that. The width is not around 36 inches wide. It would be a no. So we actually would take the measurement of the sort of most narrow point and then we would populate in that comment section that the width is only 30 inches wide. And then there's a no that there's a ramp present on this one. So this is the kind of information, then, that we would use to populate the map. And the idea is that, you know, if an individual maybe had an all-terrain wheelchair or a super narrow wheelchair, maybe that space is usable for them, but it allows us to just kind of put that information out there in an objective way for people to decide if it's usable for them or not.

I'll just talk a little bit about the CHEC-low vision. Add a little overlay on the slide there. For the low vision features, the most important features were glare reducing materials, having materials in alternative formats, and adequate exterior lighting.

Number four is adequate task lighting. And number five is clearly marked interior stairs and ramps with handrails for support. So those are the most important features on the CHEC-low vision.

And this, again, is a sampling of a couple of items on the CHEC-Low Vision about the pathway, and in the bottom picture there's a mainly glass entrance. The question asks, “The doors are automatic or there is contrast between the wall and the door or the wall and the door frame.” I don't know if you can tell, but there's a little yellow sticker there indicating that that's an automatic door. And the entrance has windows that increase the daylight in the entryway to ease transition between exterior and interior lighting. So we would indicate a yes on that item as well.

For the CHEC-Hard of Hearing, the most significant feature was having low background noise. Captioning was second. Having seating arrangements, like near walls or near a speaker. Having assistive devices, like video phones, captioning, microphones. And the fifth most important feature was having employees who speak slowly and clearly.

So again, we've got the two items from the Hard of Hearing CHEC. The picture shows maybe a hotel lobby or large lobby. It asked if there was sound absorbing materials in one room or on at least one wall. This is things like drapery, upholstery, things like that. There are some curtains in there, so we would say yes to that one. And then is the floor covered with a sound absorbing material or carpeting where conversations are most likely to occur? And in this particular image, right at the seating area, there's kind of an additional area rug on the floor. So we would mark yes for that one as well.

Those are kind of good scenarios, but I think with the mobility one you got a sampling for when things don't go quite as well.

So there are some pieces of equipment that we used to complete the CHECs. So how we indicated, like, the width of that sidewalk. We need a tape measure for that. We also use a sound meter on the Hard of Hearing CHEC and a light meter on the low vision CHEC. We also use a fish hook, which allows us to tell how many pounds of force it takes to open a door. So we do use some different equipment. These are the particular items that we use, but we're also exploring some different apps available for Smartphones and trying to see how they compare to our meters. So for both Apple and Android phones, you can get, like, a sound meter, a light meter, a level, those kind of things. So we're kind of looking into those options as well.

So I'm going to provide you with just a few examples of how we've used this system to provide maps and create feedback to community sites. We've done assessment and a comparison of eight cities within Missouri. And these particular ones, we had some independent living centers that we came and visited and some of the staff received training to assess sites in their communities. Following a presentation at the American Occupational Therapy Association, we were approached by a couple of Level 2 fieldwork students in North Carolina, and what they wanted to do was assess the sites near their rehab center where they're completing their fieldwork so they could inform individuals with spinal cord injury about places they could visit in that area. So it was really nice, because they were able to make sure that kind of the first outing that people with new injuries went on, that they were able to go a place that was usable and receptive so they'd kind of have a good experience that first time out.

We've also had students at St. Louis University who assess the usability of the campus for individuals with mobility impairments and they were able to provide some feedback. We teach in the School of Occupational Therapy. We've also had several occupational therapy programs express interest in adding the CHEC to their curriculum. I've used the CHEC to consult with an alternative high school here in the St. Louis area for determining the usability of their campus for a student using a manual wheelchair. And then some assessment of homeless shelters in the St. Louis area. So they were undergoing some significant renovations and wanted to maximize the usability of the site. So what was neat about using the CHEC is it allowed me to give these sites sort of a prioritized list of the barriers and things that they could improve on in their site. So I could pick the things with the higher weight, knowing that they had the most importance, and it kind of gave the sites a prioritized list or a starting point. So they didn't have to maybe make all of those changes, but they could address the top ones first.

This is our current sampling of sites assessed to date. So we've done a total of about 700 sites, so these are buildings in these communities that have been assessed using the CHECs. We're continuing to collect CHEC assessments in the St. Louis area, so we're going to try to get that one to the top of the map and get as many sites as we can.

So currently, our current methodology, when we're selecting sites, and this is just kind of one way that it could be done, but there's a lot of ways we can do it. One option we use is kind of select a community. I'll get to you in a second, but some of them, depending on a grant, if we're funded by a grant, they might kind of dictate what area we assess. Then we prepare a site destination list using And so what we do is we use those categories. So we might say, like, large stores in Carbondale, Illinois, and then we take the top, you know, 10 or 15 sites that are provided there. We complete the CHECs. We enter the data and score the CHECs. And then we match the scores.

So this is how we select the communities. For our projects, we had received some granted funding. We went to smaller communities that were within a four-hour drive from St. Louis, and we wanted to address buildings in cities that had an independent living center. So we wanted to pick communities that had a center already. And then this is an example of kind of how we do those site lists. So we select a different destination category and kind of go in with a game plan. So we have a list of sites to assess when we arrive. Like I say, we did those from the building categories and the, but then in this example, we took the first 10 large stores that appeared and put their address in. So this was just sort of a random assignment in a community. So there's a lot of other ways we could do it, so we could base it on where people with disabilities live. We could assess sites near a rehab center like they did in North Carolina. Or maybe we could go to more tourist kinds of destinations where visitors to a community would tend to go.

CHEC training methods include face-to-face training, so we've done a few of those at different conferences or at our facilities where people who are interested come in to St. Louis and receive training from us. Like I said, we've trained a lot of our OT students in the classes, but we've also developed a training program on Moodle, which I'll talk about in a minute. And we're working on developing a training manual so people can kind of go through their training on their own.

So this is a screen shot of the Moodle program. So the topics are outlined similar to the CHEC. It's not an exact match at this point, but it's relatively similar. So in this example in the topic outline, number, two is parking. So if you selected parking, on the next screen it's going to cover the items from the CHEC that assess parking. So this is giving you more information on if there's a parking lot for the site, if there is, are there marked accessible spaces? Do they have a sign? So kind of go in more detail and provide you with information about what the CHEC is actually assessing.

And then in the Moodle, we also have quizzes built in, so it shows you some different items from the CHEC and asks you how you would rate or score that item. So would you be able to determine if you'd scored a yes or a no? For example, for that top one, it says can you operate that latch with a closed fist? It gives people a way to kind of see if they're on track with what they're looking at and how they are assessing the sites in the community.

So at the present time, our team here, the research team, will create your map and send a link that you could share with others. We're looking into other display options, such as a Drupal site. So in addition to that kind of Google map that we showed you at the beginning, we're looking into some other ways to see if there's a more visually appealing way to display those results. This is a sample shot of the Drupal site. And basically, at the top there's options where you can select business categories. This one has a place where consumers could maybe blog and talk a little bit more about their experience of the site. It has a picture of the building. And then it displays the results from the CHECs.

We're also kind of toying around with a star rating system and allowing people to make comments and kind of vote for what they think, how they would rate the entrance. So this, again, would be more of what a consumer might enter as opposed to a trained rater on the CHEC. So this was supplemental information.

So what is missing? We want to further develop that consumer input piece to really get at the personal experiences and the receptivity, or how people with disabilities are treated at the site. We're also wanting to know what consumers want on the map. So we have a lot of information. Is it too much? Is it not enough? We're conducting some key informant interviews with consumers. By that, we mean people with disabilities, kind of our end user, to find out what kind of information they want included on the maps.

Our next step is to develop a feasible training and to be able to establish the reliability of the information that's collected. We hope to populate maps in a variety of cities. We're trying to work through some different systems to see if there's a way to program that mapping system so somebody might go back, insert their data, and have it sort of automatically populate the website or whatever system we use.

We're working through trying to determine some potential users and consumers. So for us, kind of the obvious thing seemed like the independent living centers and, you know, different hospitals, rehab centers, and allied health programs. That seemed like a logical choice. But we also wanted to see if existing community members have interest in this, and then explore some options with maybe the visitor center and the tourism industry to see if they have any interest in creating these kind of maps.

So if you're interested in mapping your community, we'd like you to contact us by e-mail so we could send you the Moodle training and allow you to complete that. And of course you'll pass the test, and then we'll send you the CHEC and some data entry spreadsheets. That will help you determine some sites to collect in your community.

You'll use the CHEC and enter your data. You'll return that data entry spreadsheet to us and we will work on creating a map and sending you a link that you could share out with different consumers in your community.

So I'll come right back to this one. I'm just going to go through a couple more real fast. One event, we're doing some key informant interviews with consumers. So if you want to provide additional feedback, we're looking for individuals with vision, mobility, and hearing impairments. We would like you to review the map from a user perspective and provide feedback. So you would do basically a key informant interview with a consumer’s view with me over the phone and you'll be compensated for your time and effort. So we're going to provide you with our contact information if anyone is interested in that.  Please let us know.

So that's our contact information. I think we'll then send this out with a survey to attendees so that you have it in an e-mail form. We also have the link to our current Google site, so if you'd like to go on there and explore it a little bit more and see some of the options, you can do that. We worked on this for quite some time, so we have a lot of people to acknowledge. I won't go through them all one by one. Just knowing that this is way more of a team effort than Dr. Gray and I are here, like we did all this, but it took a lot of people to get 700 buildings assessed. And we've been fortunate enough to work with and have a lot of graduate students that kind of help us along in that process.

So I'm going to kind of back up, do the question and answer session. So just we'd like to hear from you guys and get some additional thoughts what you think about this system and the process?

>> Val: Jessica, I have one question, which Tracy submitted. Which was how can they use the CHEC in their teaching curriculum?

>> Jessica: Well, if you can e-mail me and we have a PowerPoint presentation that talks a little bit more in depth in the curriculum sense of how the measure was developed, a little bit more information. We've done it and we have the students come and try out the assessment. We did it, assuming they would have a student coming in that maybe had a vision, mobility, or hearing impairment, and what kind of features of the school or the program that they're in might they need to improve. Just e-mail me and I'll be happy to talk with you more about that.

>> There was a -- there was a question posed, this is Martha Hodgesmith, about the cost of doing Moodle training. Is there a cost?

>> Jessica: No. There's no cost associated with it. You just to e-mail us and let us know you're interested and we would send you a link and a log in so that you would be able to get into the system.

>> David: If you want to be trained in St. Louis, you can e-mail us and we can make arrangements to do in-person training.

>> Martha: This is Marsha Hodgesmith again. I'd like to encourage the audience and participants, we know that there are classes listening in on this. We'd ask that you give the opportunity to yourselves to think about the areas of feedback that Dr. Dashner spoke with you about. The goal in looking at things like administration of this tool, training on it, the equipment to do it, the amount of time to spend using the map, selecting sites, and potential consumers you may know are all very important areas that we need to encourage and want feedback on. I know we have participants from all over across the country, and if there are some unique aspects to where you are located and the kinds of facilities that you would be, you know, interested in having the CHEC consider, I think Dr. Dashner and Dr. Gray by their work in cities such as St. Louis, there are some major tourist attractions and other recreational businesses that they've had the opportunity to use this tool with, but I know it's a very important part of people's lives when you look at more geographically diverse areas in which the recreational opportunities would be different, but still important. Also, I think what we're very interested in knowing the kinds of organizations that you think, in your area, would be interested in being trained in this system.

>> Excuse me. I'm wondering if the speakers can hear me now?

>> Yes.

>> Wonderful. This is Dr. Christine Wright calling from Louisiana State University Health Science Center in Shreveport. Unfortunately, the technology wasn't working today, so I wasn't able to get on the screen to see it, but I've listened to the conference, and so I was wondering if you could provide the Google site or Moodle training or where the actual slides will be archived so that I can take a look at that?

>> Val: Yes. We'll post the PowerPoint. Within the next two weeks we'll get the audio together with the PowerPoint and we'll have the transcript from the captioning. So we'll post all of those. But we can post the PowerPoint right away. Did you register? Do I have your E-mail?

>> Yes, I did register.

>> Val: Okay. So I'll send that information out to everyone who's registered and then, you know, feel free to forward or send me additional names. This is Val.

>> Okay. Thank you, Val. And I just wanted to say thank you to the speakers. I enjoyed the presentation very much and it was very informative.

>> Jessica: Thank you.

>> David: Thank you very much. Have you recovered from the celebration down there?

>> Dr. Wright: Well, it was wild, because I'm in the northwest part of Louisiana, and all the snow and ice was down in the southern half, I don't know, global climate change. Very bizarre. They were going to party, no matter what, so they had a good time.

>> David: Good.

>> Val: And to the rest of you, if you want to ask a question on the phone rather than chat, go ahead and unmute your phone and jump on in.

>> Katherine Hoover: This is Katherine Hoover in the greater New Orleans area. Kerry Ransdale from the School of Allied Health just came to our mayor's advisory council meeting last week or so and brought this instrument for us to hear about, and I'm on it today. I'm an ADA coordinator for a parish just outside of New Orleans. I think it would be helpful for some of the school-based training to anticipate in doing this to partner up with mayors and county advisory councils, people with disabilities and ADA coordinators.

>> David: That's a great suggestion.

>> And the last speaker? Do we have your e-mail? Did you register with us?

>> I registered.

>> Okay. And your name was Katherine, right?

>> Katherine: Katherine Hoover.

>> Thank you, Katherine.

>> That's a great idea. We also want to encourage you, as all webinar and seminar presenters do, please consider submitting our online evaluation. It's very helpful not only to the presenters, but to us here at the Research and Training Center on Independent Living at the University of Kansas as we talk with our colleagues or in regard to the kinds of seminars and other what we call knowledge translation activities that we've had to share with you. We do appreciate your involvement today and we're going to open it up one more time for questions and someone should mute their phone. We're having feedback.

>> Val: Any questions?

>> Martha: Thank you very much. David or Jessica, anything else you want to say?

>> Jessica: No. Just feel free to e-mail us.

>> Thank you. (End of event.)