A Qualitative Analysis of Mainstream Assistive Technology Adoption among Visually Impaired Users: A Social Stigma Perspective


Currently the global visually impaired population is increasing, and their quality of life and social communication are facing challenges. In the context of inclusive society as the development goal, assistive devices as a technical intervention are widely used in the visually impaired market to support independence. It is reported that visually impaired users have a negative experience using some mainstream assistive products because of mismatched design expectations. The research points that the stigma is an important influencing factor, leading to the abandonment of assistive technology. Research objectives include: 1. Explore the factors that may discourage users from using assistive products and identify the design features that lead to product stigmatisation. 2. To understand the process by which visually impaired people experience stigma, from how it arises to how they respond. 3. Observe the unique experiences of people with visual impairments and integrate users’ thoughts and expectations of inclusive design approaches. The study uses a qualitative ethnographic research methodology based on a design context, with fieldwork and semi-structured interviews as the primary methods. Through data analysis, the study expects to find that people who have experienced assistive product use experience varying degrees of stigma and that the ‘disability’ label primarily causes this. The study’s results reveal the importance of considering psychosocial needs in developing assistive technology. Additionally, visually impaired users have unique ways of coping with stigma, and these experiences will collectively contribute to new inclusive design approach.


Lizhou Niu
Student, Doctor of Philosophy, Brunel University London, United Kingdom


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


2023 Special Focus—New Agendas for Design: Principles of Scale, Practices of Inclusion



Digital Media

This presenter hasn’t added media.
Request media and follow this presentation.