User participation: quality assurance for user-fit design

Kin Wai Michael Siu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss how the participatory approach should be considered and applied in research for the disabled. It aims to arouse the awareness of policymakers, professionals, researchers and the general public that disabled people must not only be considered, but also invited to participate in research actively in order to bring real benefit to disabled people. Design/methodology/approach – An indepth case study related to policy, implementation and management quality of tactile guide paths (TGP) was carried out in Hong Kong. Participatory approach was adopted to explore how to help visually impaired people (VIP) access places independently. The methods included group discussions, direct individual interviews, field studies and intensive observations. Findings – The quality of TGP is still unsatisfactory in policy, implementation and management aspects in that VIP still face a lot of difficulties in accessing places, in particular the places they have never gone before. Two of the major causes of poor quality of TGP are misunderstanding and neglect. VIP, as well as other disabled people, still face many difficulties arising from different sources; from the grant society policies to small objects in their daily lives. Practical implications – VIP should not be considered as a group of people with ills, trouble and problems in the society. Policymakers, professionals in design and implementation and management people must recognise that they should not impose their value judgments and preferences on VIP. Instead, user participation is a good and applicable approach to assure a high quality of design. Originality/value – The paper offers insights into quality assurance for userfit designs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-299
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Quality and Service Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2010


  • Blind people
  • Disabled people
  • Discrimination
  • Hong Kong
  • Quality assurance
  • User studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)

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