Specializing pedestrian maps to address the needs of people using wheelchairs: a case study in community-sustainable information systems
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This study examined whether a community-sustainable information system could be competitive with a centrally-maintained system. We focused on a pedestrian navigation system designed specifically to address the needs of people using wheelchairs. To ascertain the need for such a system, we interviewed people who use wheelchairs on campus. After establishing the need for a new interactive map, we designed and commissioned the construction of TerpNav, an online navigation system that allows users to find a route that avoids certain obstacles, a feature specifically for people using wheelchairs. After TerpNav’s release, we conducted surveys to determine user satisfaction. We found user maintainability was important to the system’s responsiveness to change, which also affected user satisfaction. We then incorporated new community-sustainable features into a second TerpNav version. TerpNav’s success demonstrates that community-sustainable information systems may be a viable alternative to centrally-maintained systems that are less easily specialized to serve individual community needs.