This article presents the results to date of an ongoing research project of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Mobile Wireless Technologies for Persons with Disabilities (Wireless RERC), which was established in the fall of 2001. The purpose of this project is to identify, prioritize, and disseminate information about the ergonomic needs of users with disabilities for mobile wireless technologies. This article describes the findings of two parts of this research project: (a) a survey of user needs, in both paper and accessible Web-based formats; and (b) focus group discussions with groups of persons with disabilities who are users of mobile wireless products and services. The results demonstrate that persons with disabilities are a significant customer market for wireless goods and services and that issues affecting usability for this population are similar to those of customers without disabilities. The article also describes the development of two tools for disseminating project data: (a) a database query tool for access to survey data in real time; and (b) personas depicting the characteristics of wireless customers with disabilities.
Assessment of User Needs in Wireless Technologies
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