Design based exploration of medical system adoption: Case of wheelchair ramps

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Technology in Society

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This study focuses on the exploration of wheelchair users' expectations from portable ramps and their adoption factors, then correspondingly offers a smart mass customization design tool. Briefly, portable ramps are generally used by wheelchair users, and provide a temporary solution to increase accessibility in their daily lives. In this research, a rollable ramp was examined as this prototype was developed in a prior funded research and thesis study. Our aim in this study is to explore the critical factors of satisfaction of users' and potential users' of portable ramps. To maximize the usability of portable ramp in various outdoor/indoor spaces and physical structures, an efficient permutation of flexible/adjustable components is offered. The research includes flexibility and customization and many external factors effective for adoption of portable ramp. In this context, three research methods were applied; semi structured-face-to-face interviews, observation, and experimental study. The constructs of the survey were extracted from literature and patent reviews then refined during observation and interviews. Wheelchair users answered a web-based survey with multiple constructs. The survey uncovered that personalization, flexibility, extension capability, and cost is critical. As well, users prefer the chance to try the model before purchasing. The effort needed to carry and learn how to use the ramp seems to be one of the key factors. It is also found that the user's life style and product match has an effect on adoption. At the end of the study, a smart mass customization design tool will be developed, which potential users or sales representatives are able to easily interact with in order to customize the portable ramp.


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