Since 2000, researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute have been working to apply testing and evaluation principles derived from years of experience developing user interface solutions for military customers to consumer product design.
The Accessibility Evaluation Methodology (AEM) was developed to facilitate the measurement of the accessibility and usability of office products such as copiers, fax machines, and computers in response to the publication of the technical requirements for Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The AEM is a human performance-based assessment methodology that allows evaluators to directly compare the accessibility of similar products. This work eventually led to the development of the Accessibility Assistant, an information resource that supports the design and procurement of accessible products and services.
GTRI researchers later developed a similar test methodology for the Arthritis Foundation, the Arthritis Society of Canada, Arthritis Australia, and Arthritis New Zealand and began quantifying ease of use of consumer products. Over 500 consumer products of all types have been tested for ease of use, impacting the design of products worldwide. The Ease of Use Assistant, an information resource that supports the design of easy to use consumer products and services, presents usability knowledge gleaned from several years of product testing.
GTRI’s work with users with arthritis enabled the creation of Arthritis Simulation Gloves, a tool that simulates the reduction in functional capabilities experienced by individuals with arthritis, and enables designers to gain insight into how arthritis affects a user’s interaction with products.