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I am working with a high-class hotel that owns a number of restaurant venues. I have been trying to do some research, but am coming up short with results to back the idea that exposed restaurant menu pricing is part of good UX/accessibility.

Now I understand the age-old adage "If you have to ask you can't afford it." I could maybe even get behind not displaying pricing on physical menus.

However, I feel webpages being an informational resource users should be able to see pricing to enable decision making.

Overall, I believe in order for the client's site and menu to be considered accessible they would need to display pricing on their menu.

Do you believe this to be the case as well based on your experience and research? (please link in the case of the latter.)

Or, do you believe this is purely in the realm of business policy and that hidden pricing doesn't effect UX? (AKA UX Should have no say in weither pricing is exposed or not.)

--Edit-- I am using "Accessibility" in the broad sense of "Accessibility: To provide all users the best possible user experience regardless of demographics, or ableness, etc."

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    Are you talking about physical menus handed out at the restaurant or about the website where the menus are mirrored? Sight-impaired users may prefer the website due to accessibility tools available there.
    – Crissov
    Jul 15, 2018 at 22:29
  • This would be for the online menu experience. The question at its root is asking if showing a price on the online menu will improve the user experience. Many restaurant managers would prefer to omit prices entirely for a host of reasons. However, if users cannot access that information they lack the means to make a decision that factors price into the equation. On the other hand, including a price detracts from picking menu options and venue purely based on their offerings themselves. It is complex.
    – Liv Mac
    Jul 16, 2018 at 22:44
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    I'd say it was a User Experience matter: witholding a core bit of information, doesn't make people's lives easier.
    – PhillipW
    Jul 17, 2018 at 22:58
  • In a specialized platform such as this one, we'd better use the proper terms, instead of colloquial wording. The proper term to what you refer as the "broad sense of "Accessibility" is "usability".
    – drabsv
    Mar 21 at 10:42

3 Answers 3

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Not showing prices is not an accessibility issue. If the price isn't there for sighted users, then it doesn't have to be there for visually impaired users either. It's an accessibility problem if the prices are displayed but the text is not available to a screen reader.

Personally, even for high end restaurants, I like having the prices displayed. I know it's a hassle for the restaurant because they have to keep the prices updated, but it gives me an idea how nice the place might be. For high end places, the prices are usually in whole dollars (if in the US). That is, none of the $22.95 prices. Just a simple $23.

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    +1 for the first paragraph. That is what "web accessibility" means—ensuring that your information and functionality is available to as many users as possible. Jul 16, 2018 at 13:06
  • I should have clarified, that I am using the broader definition of accessibility in terms of: "accessibility: To provide all users the best possible user experience regardless of demographics, or ableness etc." I see the social accessibility as part of UX and ultimately the more physical accessibility accommodations still contribute to the above definition. ( I will add this to the question.)
    – Liv Mac
    Jul 16, 2018 at 22:48
  • @LivMac Yes, this answer uses that same working definition of "accessibility". It is not discriminating in any way for a restaurant to hide their prices from everyone. Sure, it doesn't present all the information that a user might want, but that doesn't mean this is an Accessibility Issue, thus, I'm afraid it's simply a business decision at this point. Jul 17, 2018 at 21:11
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    Not sure if these statements are in opposition but you said you wanted to "provide all users the best possible user experience regardless of demographics" but your OP said you're dealing with high-class hotels (and probably high-class restaurants), so in a way you are distinguishing based on demographics. Just food for thought (no pun intended :-)) Jul 18, 2018 at 0:00
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Usually, I encounter this if the restaurant has multiple locations and the menu item's price various per location.

The other reason I know for not including the price is market pricing. This is often associated with kinds of seafood.

The price is in the realm of UX. If their steak is $12, then I am not expecting much...if the steak is $35, then I am expecting a different experience while dining.

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  • While I believe there is some price adjustments, the hotel has a high touch point so needing to make changes to ensure the information is accurate is just a part of the business, and not a reason to expose pricing or not in this case. You are getting to what I am saying in that users often use price information to determine the nature of the experience they will have.
    – Liv Mac
    Jul 16, 2018 at 22:52
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"However, I feel webpages being an informational resource users should be able to see pricing to enable decision making." - I think you have it all wrong here.

A commercial website is first and foremost, a marketing tool. It's a tool serving enterprise profits. It is not a tool serving customer satisfaction (the usability component in this case) above all.

While customer satisfaction (usability in this case) directly impacts profits, it is not the only and ultimate way to profit. Take monopoly for example - if you build a monopoly, you can profit (enormously) without high customer satisfaction.

In the same manner, when it comes to usability, you can have (very high) success on sales, without providing the most complete, transparent and accurate information.

It is an error not to achieve highest level of usability when sales depend on good usability, but it is not an error to make a compromise with the customer's experience if that compromise is required by marketing strategy (business logic).

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