Choosing a product representative, or ‘champion’, has been found to be an effective way of identifying most of the issues relating to social and cultural functionality. It is critical that the chosen individual matches and reflects the larger population as closely as possible. The profile of the individual should match the defined medical condition, gender and age.
The socio-economic background has been found to be less important; the impairment and resulting disability has often inhibited the persona and lifestyle of the individual. The choice of product champion may be limited, due to the small market size, locally, nationally and internationally.
The value judgement of appropriateness of an individual to be the product champion against accessibility, in terms of time and distance, has to be made by the designer or team. From the author’s experience, it is better to have a local product champion and be aware the individual’s opinions may be skewed due to age, gender, and lifestyle, social and cultural environment.
Experts may also be ‘champion users’. These may be professionals from a specific practice, such as healthcare. These champion users are likely to have a very different viewpoint on what they want from an AT product or service. The application of interview, survey and blacksmith approach is advised; presenting the outcome of any qualitative survey (ranking or Likert scale) as a web diagram.
Torrens, GE (2011) Universal Design: empathy and affinity. In Karwowski, W, Soares, M, M, Stanton, A, N, Eds, (ed) Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Consumer Products, CRC Press, pp.233-248 Available at: (http://www.crcnetbase.com/doi/abs/10.1201/b10950-19), Accessed: [23/09/015]
Torrens, G.E., 2012. Assistive Technology product to Universal design: A way forward, Design For All India, 7 (7), pp.182-205 Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/15736), Accessed:[23/09/2015]