Assessment of Workplace Product Accessibility

Brad Fain

Assessment of product accessibility is performed for a variety of reasons. Designers are interested in assessment techniques because they need methods to measure the baseline accessibility of existing equipment, compare the accessibility of two or more similar devices, and evaluate new prototypes during the design process. Procurement officials are interested in assessment techniques because they need data to support their market research or to verify the claims of manufacturers. Rehabilitation specialists are interested in assessment so that they may better understand the abilities required to use common workplace technologies. Consumers also need access to assessment techniques and the outcomes of product assessments in order to assist them in making purchase decisions.

This presentation highlights assessment techniques that have been adapted from standard human factors testing and evaluation methodologies for the purpose of evaluating products often found in the workplace. The evaluation techniques will be described and an example of the outcome of the application of the methodology will be given. Finally, the plans for the development of a web based resource for disseminating evaluation methodologies and outcomes will be discussed.

Presentation Slides:
Slides 1-19

Brad Fain has over twelve years experience in human performance research. Dr. Fain earned his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech in 1992. Upon graduation, Dr. Fain entered a graduate program in Engineering Psychology and accepted a position with the Human Systems Engineering Branch within the Georgia Tech Research Institute. Dr. Fain is the technical director of the Information Technology and Technical Assistance Training Center (ITTATC) and has led the development of technical assistance and training materials to educate designers and accessibility specialists in the measurement of accessibility. At Georgia Tech, he has led or assisted in a variety of research programs ranging from the design of fixed and rotary wing crew interfaces to applied research in the field of accessible design. Dr. Fain established the Accessibility Evaluation Facility at Georgia Tech and has pioneered evaluation techniques designed to measure accessibility of products and services for people with disabilities.

Presentation from the 'Workplace Accommodations: State of the Science' conference, September 15-16, 2005, Atlanta, GA