Many people use Voice Output Communication Aids to help them to communicate – these are devices that ‘provide a voice’ for the user. Communication aids are a key tool in the AAC field but little previous research has looked at what users think about the use of communication aids.
This project investigated what users require from these devices and how the devices can be improved. A large amount of qualitative and quantitative data was collected from interviews of users and from questionnaires to users and professionals. The results were compiled into three domains of device usage: device design; the wider picture; and the personal context of using a device.
The project provides a design specification for future device designs and also looks at the decision making process of choosing a communication aid. The results of the project highlight questions about whether the design of communication aids is sufficient to be truly effective; whether AAC services are effective in supporting users; and whether professionals are able to assess users’ needs effectively when choosing devices.
You can download the project report from this website, or browse a summary of the information by clicking on the menu links on the left.