Authors: Stone, Vathsala I. | Bauer, Stephen M. | Lane, Joseph P. | Usiak, Douglas J. | Khan, Zafar | Prabhu, Chetan
The Consumer Ideal Product (CIP) program at the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technology Evaluation and Transfer (RERC-TET) is exploring how the end-users of assistive technology devices define ‘the ideal device’. One outcome of this effort is a set of priorities assigned to product features and functions – including service, warranties and customer support – all directly from the end-user's perspective. As another outcome, the RERC-TET then transforms these results into benchmarks useful for comparing existing products, in terms accessible to product designers, manufacturers and vendors. A third outcome is a checklist of features and functions useful for choosing among
…products. This paper presents the procedures and results from the RERC-TETs work on ideal tie-downs for wheelchairs. In the CIP study, four end-user focus groups generated 180 statements relating to an ‘ideal’ tie-down system, under the 11 device evaluation criteria. Then, 100 experienced users rated these 180 statements organized in a survey, judging how well the statements characterized an ‘ideal’ tie-down system. End-users also rated the importance of the 11 device evaluation criteria. Consumers placed the highest importance on the three evaluation criteria of physical security/safety, product reliability and effectiveness. The RERC-TET then developed product benchmarks, which were used to compare six commercially available wheelchair tie-down systems. Outcomes from this work suggest improvements for each product's design, service and support. Overall, the six tie-down products all meet roughly 56–77% of the identified product requirements. Many of the suggested improvements offer a low-cost opportunity for companies to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. The findings should help manufacturers and vendors improve their products and services, and help professionals and end-users make informed choices.
Keywords: Assistive device, Benchmark, Criteria, Disability, End-user, Focus group, Market analysis, Product evaluation, QFD, Technology transfer, Survey
Citation: Technology and Disability,
vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 159-178, 1998
Price: EUR 27.50