• 39th CSUN Assistive Technology Conference - March 18-22, 2024 at the Anaheim Marriott

    The Premier AT Conference

39th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference Has Concluded

The Importance of the User in the AT Design Equation

Date & Time
Wednesday, March 20, 2024 - 2:20 PM PDT  
Platinum 7  
Assistive technology (AT) increases functionality of individuals with disabilities. The issue in the user’s life, creates the problem for the designer. The person with a disability is in a unique position to provide expert information about their situation. Understanding the user, enables the designer to gain empathy, and begin brainstorming creative ideas for new and improved AT. Without user input, a designer interprets what they think an individual with a disability may need or want. This author has partnered with three programs, Stanford University’s “Perspectives in Assistive Technology,” Project Invent, and Design the Future, where high school and college students have designed AT. Through the partnership, students learned challenges of the community partner and gained a complete picture of the individual, with disability being one aspect of the person’s identity. A more detailed view will be shown of the design stages of a Stanford University team that won second place in the 2023 RESNA Student Design Challenge. Student projects from all three programs will also be discussed. The examples will illustrate what the user of AT contributed to the design process, how the user input was incorporated in the outcome of the projects, and ways that user input could have been better utilized. Additional results from user participation will be included to show the benefits to not only the users, but the designers, other students, AT professionals, and the public.  
  • Higher Education
  • Disability Specific
  • K-12 Education
  • Healthcare & Rehabilitation
Audience Level
Session Summary (Abstract)
User's contributions to AT design will be shown through examples by college and high school students. One winning project will be shown in detail. The benefits of user input and implications for all involved in AT design professions will be discussed.  
Primary Topic
Secondary Topics
  • Design
  • Engineering
  • Mobility
  • Product Demonstration
Session Type
General Track  


  • Abigayil Tamara
    California State University Northridge

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