When carrying out user research, user populations can be classified into groups depending on age, gender and
physical condition. This can allow the designer to gather detailed feedback to generate insights for design development that are particular to each group.
Physical condition include:
- ALS: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- MS: Multiple Sclerosis
- Partial paralysis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Repetitive Strain injury
- Reduced sense of feeling
The following video shows a lady with no arms demonstrating how she dresses herself. She shows us a tool that has been made for her to aid with the process, something simple that has been designed and made for her specifically.
She mentions that she’s had it covered in aquarium tubing acquired at a pet store to make it a bit more “squishy,” i.e. ergonomic. Which got me thinking: The video you just saw was less than five minutes, but after watching it, I bet you can already think of ways to improve upon Tisha’s device. Think of the design questions popping up in your head: Is that hook the optimum shape? Is it too sharp, in case she misses and contacts her skin with the hook, or is the metal unpleasantly cold? Does the rod need to be straight, or would it be better if it had a slight arc to it at the end? Does the rod need to be cylindrical in cross-section to fit between her toes, or would a slightly elliptical cross-section provide better purchase and maneuverability? The upper part that Tisha manipulates between her chin and collarbone, is it optimally shaped? How and where does she store the device, and how does she typically retrieve it and put it back?
I hope that more folks with disabilities make videos like this, not just to share with others what their particular trials are, but to enable us designers to improve upon the objects they use.