Evaluation of an assistive technology product design using a paired comparisons method within a mixed methods approach: A case study evaluating preferences for four types of cutlery with 34 upper limb impaired participants

2014-06-13T10:17:43Z (GMT) by George Torrens Nicholas C.S. Smith
The purpose of the study was the assessment of preferences for 4 types of assistive technology (AT) domestic cutlery with 24 female and 10 male participants who had a range of upper limb impairments. A mixed-methods methodology, that included a paired comparisons analysis, was used to inform product development. Qualitative and quantitative data collected at the time provided triangulation of cohort preferences and insight into the reasoning of the participants. The results indicate that a high friction surface on AT cutlery handles is useful for all upper limb impaired users; however, the unconventional shapes of the Caring Cutlery better match the grip patterns generated by those with Arthritis. Conventionally shaped handles are favoured by those who generate conventional grip patterns. Statistical analysis of the paired comparisons results indicated a clear preference for the Caring Cutlery by those with Arthritis. The Etan cutlery set was favoured by those using one hand that predominantly had Hemiplegia following a Stroke. The paired comparisons method was used as part of a mixed methodology that was considered to be cost effective. The authors concluded that the methodology was useful to help validate a new inclusive/universal product design when the desired attributes are not accurately known.