Designing and disseminating DIY assistive technology in an online environment
Stroke is a debilitating neurological condition caused by a dysfunction in the flow of blood to the brain (Stroke.org, 2016). The onset of stroke can result in complex disability that may require long term rehabilitation (Duncan, 1994). The deterioration of psychosocial well-being is one of the many issues that may result from the formation of disability in an individual (Aström, 1992). Dunn (2000) defines psychosocial as “how people think and feel about, influence, and relate to actual, imagined, or assumed others”. It is about how our concept of self in influences our relationships with others and vice versa. The purpose of this research is to investigate what in influence digitally connected communities can have on psychosocial recovery from stroke. This will be achieved through the creation of a web application. This web application will expand on the idea of DIY and non-intentional design (Brandes, 2008) and apply it in a rehabilitative manner. Non-intentional design is defined by Brandes (2008, p) as, “the everyday, unprofessional redesign of professionally designed objects. NID results when an object is used in a manner different from the prescribed (and therefore restricted) functional intention or when the prescribed application is not honoured in the new uses”. The intention being that influencing assistive technology use in a positive way can help a person accept disability into their concept of self and help that person to regain confidence to engage with others socially. This research initially canvasses literature reviews (Hanington et al, 2012) to analyze the psychosocial, elderly engagement with web applications, and to develop heuristics to guide the design of the web application. Subsequently, I have used precedent reviews (Hanington et al, 2012) to analyze DIY assistive technology documentation in an online environment. Finally, I utilised a Research through design (Frayling, 1993) approach to inform the creation of this DIY assistive technology and the web application. User testing of the web application was then performed. The testing took the participants through the process of using the web application via a set list of tasks and also asked them to recreate one of the three available DIY assistive technology examples.