Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Sarah Nielsen


Accessibility, usability, rural shopping


Introduction: Individuals with disabilities are often faced with barriers when trying to access public spaces out in the community, which results in lack of inclusion (Chibaya et al., 2021; Sandwood, 2019). This is an ongoing barrier that if addressed, may expand inclusion for those with disabilities (CDC, 2020a). The purpose of this scholarly project was to increase accessibility and usability for rural shoppers. Thus, a manual was created for Minnesota stores to use as a guide when assessing accessibility and usability. In addition, this manual was created to help store owners understand disability and its impact and identify strategies store owners can implement to address common barriers.

Methodology: A needs assessment and literature review were conducted to understand the need for, and importance of, accessibility and usability of stores in rural America. Sources used throughout this process include textbooks, government, and national websites, as well as online databases such as Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, and PubMed. The Person-Environment-Occupation (PEO) model guided the development of this manual (Baptiste, 2017). PEO was chosen to guide this project as it examines the person, environment, occupation, and the transaction between them. This provide a unique perspective on the relationship between shopping, the store/store owner, and the environment and how each component is influenced.

Results: The literature review revealed the stores should be equipped with the following: (a) enhanced accessibility of public spaces, (b) enhanced usability of public spaces, and (c) increased support from local organizations that advocate for enhancement of accessibility and usability in public spaces such as stores. As a result of this, Enhancing Accessibility and Usability in Rural America: Minnesota Store Owner’s Manual was developed to address these needs and provide information to assist Minnesota store owners in making improvements in these areas.

Conclusions: Accessibility and usability of public spaces is crucial as it allows for inclusion and equal opportunity for individuals of all abilities (ADA National Network, 2020a; Illinois Library, 2021). With the implementation of Enhancing Accessibility and Usability in Rural America: Minnesota Store Owner’s Manual, store owners will be provided the opportunity to enhance accessibility and usability of their store and improve the experience of shoppers.