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Title: Consumer evaluation criteria for assistive devices: guidelines for design, development and marketing
Authors: Joseph P Lane, Douglas J Usiak, John A Moffat, Marcia J Scherer
Published: 1997
Publication: RESNA Conference: Pittsburgh, PA

Prior research suggested that: a) consumers apply specific evaluation criteria when assessing assistive devices; b) these evaluation criteria can be organized under a generic classification; c) researchers, manufacturers, and suppliers can apply these evaluation criteria to improve the design, development, and marketing of assistive devices. However, producers continue to struggle with defining consumer expectations and consumers continue to express dissatisfaction with available devices. The Rehabilitation Research Center on Technology Evaluation and Transfer refined the generic criteria developed previously, to offer more structured guidelines for integrating consumer input. The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technology Evaluation and Transfer then applied these more detailed consumer criteria to thirteen ABLEDATA device categories where consumer dissatisfaction is reportedly high. The State Tech Act programs and a sample of Independent Living Centers identified the device categories. Over 700 consumers participated in focus groups to define the criteria. Results show that consumers define and rank evaluation criteria differently, depending on the device category being evaluated. The results provide a blueprint for evaluating any specific product. The full reports on consumer criteria for the thirteen device categories are available from the authors.

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