Perspectives of a mobile application for people with communication disabilities in the community Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose To determine the perceptions of people with complex communication needs (CCN) and business staff regarding the uses and functionality of a mobile application to aid communication access. Method A qualitative study using thematic analysis of transcripts and field notes from focus groups and interviews of 19 people with CCN and nine business staff. Results Four themes and 10 subthemes were drawn from the data. Themes highlighted the desire for: increased communication strategies to support customer interactions, increased access to information, functionality of a mobile application to increase its utility, and preferred technical and visual features of mobile applications. Conclusion People with CCN and business staff perceived a mobile application as a useful tool to aid communication access. This research highlighted the importance of facilitating strategies to communicative interactions and information in the community as the fundamental goal of a mobile application developed to support communication access. Implications for Rehabilitation Mobile applications are widely accepted and used in modern customer service industries and have been identified as tools to increase communication access for people with complex communication needs (CCN). People with CCN identified accessibility, presentation, and customisation as important features of mobile applications for communication access. The diversity of user preferences and needs, and the rapid development of new technologies limit the applicability of a single design for mobile applications for people with CCN. People with CCN should be involved in application design and development. A mobile application for communication access would support customer-business interactions as well as enable more accessible information sharing about disability needs and services.

publication date

  • 2017