my first research presentation!!!

January 22, 2009

Good news! The research study that I have been working on with my good friend Christia from the Psychology department has been accepted into the National Conference for Undergraduate Research. This is the first time that someone from the School of Interior Design has been accepted into this conference. It’s great research that looks at how kids have a hard time with adult size building fixtures. I will be traveling to LaCrosse, Wisconsin in April to present at the conference. Thanks Christia (I’m sure this will be the crown jewell of your research career).


the details for those who are interested…


The Abstract Title is:

Did Universal Design Forget About Children?
The Name of Name of Author(s), Faculty Advisor, Department, Institution and Institutional Address are:
Jonathan B. Fox (Christia Spears Brown), Department of Interior Design, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506

The Abstract Text is:
In the desire to create universal design of public facilities, most of the emphasis has been on access and ease of use by persons with disabilities.  Children are often overlooked as frequent patrons of those facilities.  The purpose of the current study was to investigate the impact of universal design used in public facilities on children’s perceived self-efficacy.  We examined whether the design of public restrooms – namely, those in venues in which a large percentage of their patrons are children (e.g., zoos, malls, museums) – affects children’s perceived ability to use the restrooms and their enjoyment of the facility in general.  In other words, this study takes a psychological approach to the field of interior design.  Specifically, we examined the public restrooms in (a) an amusement park, (b) a mall, (c) a zoo, (d) a museum, and (e) a sports stadium.  We assessed the layout and installation of the fixtures and equipment, with a particular emphasis on the height of countertops and fixtures, the distance necessary to reach the faucets and handles, and the ease of operation of faucets, hand dryers and soap dispensers.  We also interviewed children under the age of 12 who patronized the venue.  We assessed whether the design specifications were related to their self-efficacy in using the restrooms, and whether that was related to their enjoyment of the facility.  As predicted, the ease of use of the restrooms affected children’s enjoyment of the facility as a whole. This study has implications for design specifications of public facilities, as parents are more likely to frequent venues in which their children are comfortable and confident.   

Architecture and Interior Design