Persona-Technology footprint: an evaluation of 144 student’s perceptions of a person using assistive technology

The persona-technology footprint is the visual balance between the enabling technologies associated with an individual and the person. This design heuristic enables a practitioner to quickly assess the area of visible technology compared with that of the person. The objective of a designer is to minimise the perceived technology and emphasise the personality of the individual. This study looks to provide detail about the visual balance between areas of a person covered by assistive technology and which areas of a person it is important to ensure are visible. A survey of 144 undergraduate design students involved them choosing where they considered they no longer saw ‘the person’, due to them being covered by assistive technology. This involved three different line drawings: one that had different sections of the person’s profile blacked out to represent the presence of equipment in front of the person; the second with the outer profile of the person visually broken by the overlapping blacked section; and, a line drawing of a person’s head with blacked out sections that both covered areas of the head and broke the outer profile. The points chosen by students were collated and processed statistically using ANOVA. In all three choices, students chose the point where the person was covered up to the point of their eyes being covered. This suggests we view another person’s eyes to represent them more than any other part of their body. Further studies are required to explore this outcome.