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Usability Study

Author(s): 
van Roosmalen, Linda PhD
Project title: 
Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wheelchair Transportation Safety
Project Number: 
H133E010302
Tool type: 
Assessments
Tool class: 
Nonengineering tool
Disability targeted: 
Mobility disabilities
Study target: 
Individual seated in wheelchairs
Study purpose or goal: 
To determine design requirements for an easier-to-use restraint system
Who administers this tool?: 
Researcher in observation of person using the product
Ease of use: 
Easy
Time to complete: 
Up to 2.5 hours
Skills needed: 
Researchers should have strong, basic research skills and an orientation to detail.
Equipment required: 
Researcher used Faro arm (digitizer) and video, and digital images
Sensitive issues: 
Confidentiality is addressed using signed consent and photo release forms
Are any approvals required?: 
IRB
How is it administered?: 
Researchers observed wheelchair users performing tasks with the product, a wheelchair integrated occupant restraint system, then queried the users on the ease and comfort of use at each step. There was a possibility physical contact and researchers asked participants if they had a urinary bag, both of which may be considered sensitive issues
Development background: 
This usability study was developed specifically for the protocol: an wheelchair integrated occupant restraint system that was easier to use than current designs. The assessment is based on design methods. Literature and database reviews focused on studies related to comfort and discomfort and their assessments
Development methodology: 
Questions and methodology were selected by evaluating the fundamentals of product design and product evaluation and asking questions about each step of using the product.
Outside consultation: 
Consultations were made with researchers within the RERC and specialists in ergonomics at the University of Michigan
Consumer input: 
Ten individuals gave input on a specific product to elicit problems or suggestions. This is a usability type test
Can this development process be used elsewhere?: 
The usability study was specific to the protocol as a development tool. It is specific to wheelchair users using restraints but it could be easily modified for the product. Researchers must set up the list of tasks, observe, then survey
Can this tool be used for other purposes/populations?: 
Specific to Individuals seated in wheelchairs
Data analysis: 
Is complete
Limitations: 
Users are not studied in a "real" environment. There may be a limited sample of protoypes.
Findings: 
The resulting data provided very good suggestions of how to improve existing belts and buckles. It gave a general sense of where people can reach in the close space around them. Users gave good suggestions on how to improve the effectiveness of the seatbelt (problems with current seatbelts were also recorded).
Interpretations: 
Currently, developers are geared toward integrating seatbelts into wheelchairs. Individuals cannot reach over shoulder easily. Developers will end up redesigning seatbelts in environment or chair. Another implication of the research is that seatbelts will be used independently by user and increase vehicles use. This will lead to increased safety, and independent use of seatbelts for people using wheelchairs
Implications: 
The resulting data provided very good suggestions of how to improve existing belts and buckles. It gave a general sense of where people can reach in the close space around them. Users gave good suggestions on how to improve the effectiveness of the seatbelt (problems with current seatbelts were also recorded).
Research methods: 
Data analysis was complete and published at the time of the interview. The researcher used qualitative data analysis with some quantitative analysis (users rated items).
Impact of these findings on the field: 
Currently, developers are geared toward integrating seatbelts into wheelchairs. Individuals cannot reach over shoulder easily. Developers will end up redesigning seatbelts in environment or chair. Another implication of the research is that seatbelts will be used independently by user and increase vehicles use. This will lead to increased safety, and independent use of seatbelts for people using wheelchairs.
Peer review status: 
Yes. A bibliography is available at http://www.pitt.edu/~lvanroos/publications.htm
Who uses the collected data?: 
Wheechair manufacturers, securement system manufacturers. Wheelchair users who travel in vehicles
Tool contact: 
Debbie Keelan
Email: 
tkarg@pitt.edu
Phone: 
412/586-6905