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Universal design: lessons for wearable computing

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3 Author(s)

When we as developers and designers create a system that requires user interaction-whether it is computer software, a kitchen appliance, or a door knob-we often fall victim to a common mistake: we use ourselves as the model for our system's potential users. Even developing for an "average user" is a pitfall that results in numerous users whose needs are overlooked. The average user might account for the largest spike under a bell curve, but nonaverage users account for a much larger percentage of the general population. Additionally, the number of people possessing all of the average attributes being considered in a design is very small. So, the designers' goal should be to broaden the section of the bell curve that their system targets. This concept is called universal design, and it's especially important in wearable computing because using a system while mobile and while in different environments can have a major effect on its usability.

Published in:

IEEE Pervasive Computing  (Volume:2 ,  Issue: 3 )