freq-comm-format-20papers_21Aug2017.xlsx (25.17 kB)

frequency of communication format used in 20 case studies.xlsx

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posted on 21.08.2017 by George Torrens
The twenty case studies from the field of Assistive Technology (AT) product design were identified from available sources, including journal articles and textbooks.

Ten were from my past experiences, spanning a fifteen year period, with ten from other authors over a matching period. Studies from other authors were chosen to match the level of focus and detail at which my ten case studies were described, i.e. method only; combined methods; and, methodology or approach.

The twenty case studies were reviewed by two operators, using the same protocol, to minimise bias. The list of communication formats were given to both operators, along with a short description of each. The operators used the descriptions to identify formats used in each study. I was one of the operators, with the other an administrator with a good working knowledge of design methods. Using an operator not fully immersed in design process was to ensure the descriptions were reviewed on the content alone; and, to avoid myself, as an experience designer, unintentionally ‘filling in’ any gaps using past experience of the formats and or process.

The reviews were compared to identify any differences or other anomalies between each reviewer’s interpretations of each case study. If differences were found, they were to be discussed and highlighted. Where one operator had identified a format and not the other, the reasoning for identification was to be discussed and the element included or excluded. Due to constraints of time and resource consideration was not given to any excluded identified communication formats being novel or a new category being needed. The externalisation of each operator’s reasons for their choice was also to help resolve differences of interpretation.

The review of the 20 articles and book chapters by two operators resulted in a number of differences in representation. These were quickly resolved through jointly reviewing the material again with the operator who had indicated there was evidence of a particular format showing the other its location within the text. Where this could not be found, the positive indicator was removed in the agreed review column, shown in Table 2.

The completed table provides a hierarchy of frequently applied communication formats within the 20 publications. The communication formats were grouped under the generic titles of dialogue, role play, sketch/functional model, presentation board/visualisation and sketch drawing. The communication formats and group titles were matched with mechanisms of sensory perception. The titles given were termed for ease of understanding by a layperson, rather than precise technical, for academic or practitioner use. They were: visual, sound, taste, smell, temperature, vibration, haptic/tactile and body movement.