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The importance of context in inclusive design

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conference contribution
posted on 2009-12-04, 11:55 authored by Edward Elton, Colette Nicolle
Capability data used in current inclusive design tools fail to take into account context of use. Two experiments were conducted with older users to determine what effect the physical environment has on two essential product interaction capabilities (vision and dexterity). For vision (n1 = 38) everyday lighting levels were investigated, and for dexterity (n2 = 14) warm (19°C-24°C) and cold temperatures (5°C) were investigated. Results from the vision study showed that when the lighting level decreased from daylight to street lighting, there was a decrease of up to 44% in the number of participants able to correctly read particular rows of letters. Findings from the dexterity study indicated that fine finger dexterity is significantly reduced (p<0.05) when exposed to average winter temperatures (5°C). Failure to consider the capabilities of users in these everyday contexts of use could result in products excluding or causing difficulties to those intended to be included.



  • Design


ELTON, E. and NICOLLE, C.A., 2010. The importance of context in inclusive design. IN: Anderson, M. (ed.). Contemporary Ergonomics and Human Factors 2010: Proceedings of the International Conference on Contemporary Ergonomics and Human Factors 2010, Keele, UK. London: Taylor & Francis.


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This is a conference paper. It was accepted for publication in Contemporary Ergonomics and Human Factors 2010 [© Taylor & Francis]: