Simulation Tools for Inclusive Design Solutions

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Universal Design 2021, Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, Volume 282
Disability has been redefined by the World Health Organization as a function of a person's interaction with the environment and not merely an innate part of a person. This redefinition highlights the need for inclusiveness in design solutions. To aid this, we apply and test the potential of different tools that restrict designers' physical abilities at deriving inclusive design perspectives among designers. Various tools and simulated conditions are often adopted in user-centered design to support need-finding by eliciting rich data on users' needs and guide designers to empathize with users. Simulation tools that restrict designers' physical abilities have been applied to understand certain perspectives of people with physical challenges, yet these tools lack the ability to evoke an inclusive design perspective among designers. Through a co-creation workshop, participants were exposed to two forms of simulations: direct and situational physical impairments. This was achieved using different tools that simulate the same physical restriction. In this study, a noise-canceller and earphones were used to simulate a reduced hearing attention. Participants were asked to generate user needs and design functions by applying both the simulation tools. The study results comprise the outcomes of 33 participants who volunteered to participate in a co-design workshop that provided a venue for them to interact and work alongside users with physical challenges. This paper analyses the inclusiveness attained through different types of simulated conditions. With a growing need to create tools and technologies that delight the user, it is necessary to equip designers with the tools that would help them with the process. The study demonstrates the application and impact of one such tool.
Funding Information: The authors deeply appreciate the support provided by the Humanistic Co-design team, MIT India, MIT Ideation lab and SUTD-MIT International Design Centre (IDC) ( Any opinions, findings, or recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors or collaborators. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The authors and IOS Press.
assistive technology, creativity, hearing impairment, inclusion, Simulation tools
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Raviselvam , S , Al-Megren , S , Keane , K , Hölttä-Otto , K , Wood , K L & Yang , M C 2021 , Simulation Tools for Inclusive Design Solutions . in I Verma (ed.) , Universal Design 2021 : From Special to Mainstream Solutions . Studies in Health Technology and Informatics , vol. 282 , IOS Press , pp. 210-218 , International Conference on Universal Design , Espoo , Finland , 09/06/2021 .