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2. ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY, Computer hardware and architecture, Interdisciplinary
Purpose: To develop and demonstrate a method to involve professional users of assistive technology (AT) in the development process of customisable products. Employing the ideas of user participation and mass customisation, this research addresses the need for reduced product costs and optimised product flexibility. Method: An adaptable six-question Delphi study was developed to establish consensus among AT professionals on design issues relating to a specified AT domain requiring innovation. The study is demonstrated for the special access technology (SAT) domain. A modified morphological matrix structures the application of the study results to the product design process. Results: Fourteen professionals from the Republic of Ireland and the UK participated. Consensus was reached on prevalent parts of SAT that malfunction, primary reasons for SAT malfunction, characteristics of clients associated with SAT selection, client needs regarding SAT use and training, desirable traits of SAT and clinicians’ frustrations with SAT. Conclusion: The study revealed a range of problems related to SAT, highlighting the complexities of successful SAT adoption. The questions led to differentiated insights and enabled design solution conceptualisation from various perspectives. The approach was found to help facilitate efficient generation and application of professional users’ knowledge during the design process of customisable AT.
O'Rourke, P., Ekins, R., Timmins, B., Timmins, F., Long, S. and Coyle, E. Crucial design issues for special access technology; a Delphi study. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, Informa Healthcare, July 2013. http://informahealthcare.com/journal/idt