Developing More Desirable Products
for Stroke Survivors

Craig Stehle and Conrad Albrecht-Buehler

For a conference on topics in stroke rehabilitation, my partner and I explored the differing design processes behind creating assistive technologies and consumer products. To explore this, first we identified a set of users, namely stroke survivors, then a problem that required an assistive technology for those users, namely cooking with eggs, and finally, we worked through both design processes.
We learned that the two processes, though very similar, differ the most during three of the five development phases:
  1. Understand the problem / Identify the opportunity
  2. Develop the concept
  3. Validate the concept
  4. Refine the concept
  5. Commercialize the product
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1. Understand the problem / Identify the opportunity
During this phase we performed contextual research with users, to see how they currently cook with eggs. We also researched egg anatomy, commercial egg openers, as well as mentor products to determine the target product position.
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We used all of this research to define a set of user needs.
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2. Develop the concept
Next we held a brainstorming session with experts, and experimented with different means of extracting the egg contents. Our testing helped us develop a prototype to compare with other mockups.
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3. Validate the concept
We tested and refined the design of our prototype.
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4. Refine the concept
We used the results of our testing to refine the design and focus on the emotional and commercial requirements of the product. (rendering by C.Stehle)
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More detail can be found in our article:
Stehle, C., Albrecht-Buehler, C., Developing More Desirable Products for Stroke Survivors. Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 109-117, March 2008.