Required Readings: Design and Testing with Diverse Populations

Participatory design with amnesiacs 

In order to develop a viable assistive application, participatory design is essential as users can involve in designing tools or devices that they may use in the future and that designers can get better ideas while they are doing with participants. The article presents an orientation aid for amnesiacs, who have a problem of disorientation and are susceptible to feeling lost or fear when they are alone. It looks that they might act better when something is structured and if there is a caregiver for them because then, they can get a clue what they have been doing and where they are. Assistive devices can help amnesics; however, they may be hesitant to use the devices because it could label them as impaired in public. The OrientingTool for Palm devices has been developed to accommodate the needs of amnesics. People wouldn’t recognize this PDA type of device is an assistive application for those are memory impaired, and amnescis can effectively manage their situations without getting lost with the aid of this device.


Representing users in accessibility research

In HCI, participants are an important factor since the results from users abilities can be replicated and generalized to new situations. Preliminary evaluation of a new technology may require non-representative users, such as college students. When recruiting participants is limited, alternative study designs may be needed to analyze results. However, the article emphasizes including representative users for effective accessibility research. For example, blindfolded sighted users may participate in a study in replacing blind users for a technology tool. However, the study reveals different results between two groups: actual blind participants and blindfolded sighted participants. Blind users performed using commands more than a non-representative group, checked the starting point very often, and navigated tools differently. It shows that how important representative users involvement is as the information affects the development of the tool.




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