Measuring Usability of Assistive Technology From a Multicontextual Perspective: The Case of Power WheelchairsBy Arthanat, Sajay; Nochajski, Susan M.; Lenker, James A.; Bauer, Stephen M.; Wu, Yow Wu B.; American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Vol. 63, No. 6, pp. 751-764
Publication Date: November/December 2009
Study investigated power wheelchair users’ perceived independence in mobility-related activities as measured by a novel tool, the Usability Scale for Assistive Technology – Wheeled Mobility (USAT-WM). Wheelchair usability is defined as the effectiveness and efficiency with which a user can interact with a wheelchair to accomplish an optimal level of mobility and seating integrity in a given environment. The USAT-WM uses 5-point Likert response scales and consists of 50 items categorized into 7 subscales reflecting 4 specific contexts: home, workplace, community and outdoors; as well as 3 user-specific contexts: ease of use, seating, and safety of the wheelchair. For the study, 70 power wheelchair users ranging in age from 20 to 65 years, 42 of whom were women and the majority of whom had cerebral palsy or spinal cord injuries, were interviewed using the USAT-WM. In all the power wheelchairs attained a high degree of usability at home and workplace or school. Scores for the community and outdoor usability of the power wheelchairs ranged from moderate to high. The overall usability mean scores associated with ease of use, seating, and safety of the wheelchairs ranged between high and very high. Key concerns with the use of power wheelchairs indoors found were space, accessibility, and damage caused to property. Users confronted far more significant issues within the community and outdoor environment compared with those at home and in the workplace, including inaccessibility of public buildings, restaurants, and stores. Study limitations and implications for assistive technology stakeholders are discussed.
Published by: American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (AOTA) (Website:http://www.aota.org)
This publication is included in the library of the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC), accession number J58062