Loughborough User Centered Assistive Technology (LUCAT) design process

The LUCAT process is a streamlined collection of design, engineering, ergonomics and human factors theory and best practice in User-Centred Design (UCD) brought together to enable time-compressed market research and evidence-based design decision-making. The process concept was based on Torrens’ experience of working in the field of AT product design since 1986. He then refined the process and through further research studies between 2010-2020, has significantly expanded the methods and heuristics into the current LUCAT process.

LUCAT was developed through a practice-based, bottom-up participatory approach within AT product design, informed by Ergonomics and Human Factors theory. The research programme that underpinned the LUCAT process initially defined a suitable approach. This was based on the conventions of design innovation, the fast time-compressed and iterative cycle of participatory design, and best practice from small batch production design engineering.

These initial methods and heuristics were augmented by additional research into best practice relating to optimum formats of communication to be used by new product developers; principles from social sciences and psychology; and, applied within a mixed methods research approach.

Useful links

Torrens, G., 2011. Universal design: empathy and affinity. IN: Karwowski, W., Soares, M.M. and Stanton, N.A. (eds). Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Consumer Product Design. Boca Raton, Fl: CRC Press, pp. 233 – 248. Available at: (DOI: 10.1201/9780429143946), Accessed [21/01/2021]

Torrens, G.E., 2017. The order and priority of research and design method application within an assistive technology new product development process: a summative content analysis of 20 case studies. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 13(1), pp.66-77. Available at: (DOI: 10.1080/17483107.2017.1280547), Accessed [21/01/2021]

Torrens, G.E., 2018. Dialogue Appropriate to Assistive Technology Product Design: A Taxonomy of Communication Formats in Relation to Modes of Sensory Perception. She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation, 3(4), pp.262-276. Available at: (DOI: 10.1016/j.sheji.2018.01.001), Accessed [21/01/2021]