HKBU students develop free smartphone app for locating friendly restaurants with barrier-free facilities
15 Apr 2014
Most restaurants in Hong Kong lack barrier-free facilities for people with disabilities, causing inconvenience and frustration to people with special needs and the elderly, and to a certain extent hindering their social life. In view of this, a group of HKBU students from the student society Enactus, with the assistance of National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan, developed a free smartphone app which contains information on barrier-free restaurants in Hong Kong. Users can download and search for restaurants using the app free of charge. The students aim to help people with special needs to locate friendly restaurants and to promote the concept of installing barrier-free facilities to the catering sector.
The students hired voluntary helpers, including those with disabilities, to conduct field visits to various restaurants. The volunteers used the available facilities and services at the restaurants, and then rated each of these items individually. The restaurants rated on the smartphone app are confirmed to have facilities that are tailored to the needs of the disabled. During the process of setting up the app, the team helped people with disabilities recognise their own positive value by turning themselves from “being served” into “barrier-removing social ambassadors”.
Team representatives Ngan Chiu-ming (BBA, Year 2), Tony Tsui and Joscelin Yeung (Government and International Studies, Year 2) briefed the media yesterday on their ideas. The team said that there are 40 restaurants currently included in the app and they wanted to expand their team as well as cover at least 20 to 30 restaurants each month. The team hopes to enhance the sustainable development of the app by looking into more areas including recreational activities for people with special needs. They are also considering launching a “friendly restaurant label” to qualified restaurants to encourage the participation of catering outlets in Hong Kong.
In the first phase, the app is available for Android smartphones. Please click here to install it.