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Understanding Real People: Going Beyond Single Severe Capability Loss

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Waller, SD 
Goodman-Deane, JA 
Bradley, MD 
Hosking, IM 
Clarkson, PJ 


Some approaches to representing the diverse range of capabilities within the population focus on representing those with severe losses in a single capability, such as vision or mobility. This approach aligns with a simplistic view that people are either able-bodied, or have a single severe capability limitation. This paper challenges this view using data from a population representative survey of the 2019 adult population in Germany. This survey asked participants whether they had any limitations in the daily activities, because of their vision, hearing, memory, concentration, hands, reach or mobility. Out of 1002 valid responses, 158 participants reported that something was 'very limited'. However, 145 of these participants (92%) had a limitation in more than one capability category. Therefore, representing the diverse range of capabilities within the population necessarily requires describing people with co-occurring limitations. The full set of capability limitations for an individual is defined herein as their 'capability finger-print'. Within the German survey, the top 16 capability fingerprints represented 80% of the survey participants. Presenting the most prevalent capability finger-prints is advocated as a better approach for understanding the diversity in the population. These capability fingerprints could be used to develop population-representative personas, or to better understand the sample that took part in small-scale user research.



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CWUAAT 2023 (Cambridge Workshop on Universal Access and Assistive Technology)

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European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Research Infrastructures (RI) (875542)