One Size Doesn't Fit All: On the Adaptable Universal Design of Assistive Technologies

DS 116: Proceedings of the DESIGN2022 17th International Design Conference

Year: 2022
Editor: Mario Štorga, Stanko Škec, Tomislav Martinec, Dorian Marjanović
Author: Leila Aflatoony (1), Siniša Kolarić (2)
Series: DESIGN
Institution: 1: Georgia Institute of Technology, United States of America; 2: Simon Fraser University, Canada
Section: Design for Healthcare
Page(s): 1209-1220
DOI number:
ISSN: 2732-527X (Online)


Occupational therapists modify mass-produced and universally-designed assistive technologies (ATs) to fulfill the specific needs of people with disabilities. We interviewed ten occupational therapists with experience in modifying ATs in order to understand adaptation processes. Our findings reveal the reasoning behind adaptation, common ATs that require adaptation, as well as the collaborative nature of adaptation. We propose a new framework called Adaptable Universal Design (AUD) that blends Universal Design with the need to adapt ATs in order to fulfill unique and specific user needs.

Keywords: inclusive design, healthcare design, design theory, design guidelines

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