Cecília Carvalho, specialises in design and product development and has a Master of Industrial Design from the Engineering Faculty at Oporto University, Portugal.
Abstract: Despite the accepted advantages of user involvement in design projects, such as deeper understanding of people’s needs, capabilities and aspirations, procedural difficulties are recognized and discouraging design teams. Moreover, when we consider users with disabilities, greater challenges are identified. This study is grounded on a participatory experience into the lives of people with disabilities, in which it became possible to observe that many of those stated problems in user involvement may actually be overcome or compensated with significant gains for design. This two years and still ongoing experience includes sport practices and other leisure activities. Our work showed that user involvement should not be assumed as a unilateral process in design development and that for better achievements, a bilateral process is needed. Involving and being involved with users apparently opens more possibilities of success.