Inclusive Design For Assistive Technology


Richard Herriott and Sharon Cook


C5. UD and assistive technology

Date and Time

2014-06-17, 11:00 - 11:20


MA 7
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This paper reports the results of a study comparing the processes of nine cases of assistive technology design (AT) with the predominant model of Inclusive Design (ID). There is a comparison of both process and methods. Design for AT requires a special focus on user-requirements during product development. As such ID methodology is relevant to AT design. Research in AT design has both drawn from and added to the ID knowledge base. However, the conditions under which mainstream ID operates are not the same as those for AT where the scale of projects is smaller. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with nine designers of assistive technology. This provided raw data concerning the processes and methods used in a range of products including a children´s wheelchair, a wash-basin system, a wheeled walking frame and breathing apparatus. The interviews showed that design for AT has some overlap with design for mainstream ID but there are number of important differences of emphasis. Three in particular are a) that user investigations must draw on stakeholders other than users (carers and medical professionals) when gathering user requirements and conducting verification testing and b) requirements gathering and definition is under-emphasised and c) prototyping becomes a more important element of the design process.