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Critical user forums - an effective user research method for inclusive design

Critical user forums - an effective user research method for inclusive design

Dong, Hua, Clarkson, P. John, Cassim, Julia and Keates, Simeon ORCID: 0000-0002-2826-672X (2005) Critical user forums - an effective user research method for inclusive design. The Design Journal: An International Journal for All Aspects of Design, 8 (2). pp. 49-59. ISSN 1460-6925 (Print), 1756-3062 (Online) (doi:

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Inclusive or universal design is about designing more accessible products and services for the widest possible range of users, regardless of age and capabilities. It requires better understanding and empathy with all potential users. Traditional user research methods are limited in accommodating a wide range of users and hence there is a need to find more appropriate methods of user research for inclusive design. This paper describes a method called ‘Critical User Forums' which involves direct interaction between design teams and a mixed group of users with severe disabilities. The evaluation of the effectiveness of this method for inclusive design is based on the interviews of eight UK design consultancies that took part in a design competition, emphasising inclusive design and involving users, known as the ‘DBA Design Challenge’. The contribution of critical users to the DBA projects is discussed and the design teams’ viewpoints on such user involvement in the process are investigated. The paper concludes that Critical User Forums provide an ideal chance for designers to understand a wider range of users through direct interaction with them, thus helping designers build empathy with all potential users.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: inclusive design, critical users, user research
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
T Technology > T Technology (General)
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:29

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