Participatory Design: The Story of Jayne and Other Complex Cases

Participatory Design: The Story of Jayne and Other Complex Cases

Mick Donegan (ACE Centre, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-098-9.ch007
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The ACE Centre user trials have involved over a hundred people who have severe and complex physical, cognitive and visual difficulties. Participatory Design methodology underpinned the approach that was adopted, which involved being led by the requirements of the most complex users. Jayne was one of many users through whom we not only developed more effective ways of using the technology, but also more innovative strategies to support its implementation. In this chapter, we describe the process, and outcome of our participatory design approach, through the cases of Jayne and other users.
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“…I had an email yesterday from one of the tutors who was saying that you were being disruptive in class and talking too much on your gaze control system… and I thought ‘Fantastic!’ You haven’t had a voice for twenty years and you’ve suddenly got one and people start complaining that you’re speaking too much!...”


Case Studies

Jayne has embraced gaze control through the encouragement of family, friends and college staff. During a recent visit, the college server had become jammed by a flurry of emails; “I get emails now” her mother says, pausing to reflect; “endless emails, but I’m sure this will calm down”. Jayne had previously refused to use all other high-tech methods of computer control. “I think it’s the technology itself” says her mother, “she so hated switches and I think felt they were unreliable”.

Jayne had made it perfectly clear, for her switch control was simply too erratic. However, this is a successful access method for many other people. For further detailed information, Donegan et al. (2005, Chapter 5) discuss alternative access methods including special switches, mice and keyboards. Tom sees such devices being set up and successfully used by students on a daily basis

It seems that some users associate certain activities with specific methods of computer control. Their choice needs to be knowledge based – guided by what is known of the user’s physical and cognitive abilities (Donegan &Oosthuizen, 2006). For example, Michael uses a head switch to control his environment including the television, but, chooses to email and listen to music with his gaze control system. Meanwhile, Jonathan (Brough, 2009) uses a switch to control a camcorder on a pan and tilt base, but, chooses to write; Skype; play games; make PowerPoint presentations; and to visit the MyTobii Community (2011) with his gaze control system

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