Assistive Technology Abandonment: Understanding and Mitigation

This special thematic session invites contributions on the abandonment of Assistive Technology (AT), looking at both studies or analyses of AT abandonment as well as strategies to mitigate the abandonment of AT. AT in this context means any device that is intended to compensate for or alleviate an injury, handicap or illness or to replace a physical or sensory function. Abandonment describes the act of discontinuing use of the AT after obtaining it and using it for a time (this ‘time’ is defined differently in various studies). AT abandonment is the ‘dirty little secret’ of AT design and implementation: the existing small body of work estimates that abandonment can range from 19% for corrective spectacles (Dougherty, Kehler et al. 2011) to 57% for hearing aids (Davis, Smith et al. 2007). 

ATs are very diverse, but tend to have several qualities in common: 1) they are expensive, particularly in comparison to ‘regular’ equivalents if they exist; and 2) they are not simply a convenience, they fulfil a real need, without which activities of daily life would be limited or impossible. 

This is a particularly interesting time to investigate AT abandonment due to the blossoming of concern society-wide supporting equal access and empowerment of persons with diverse abilities and needs. In addition, the Internet of things and the DIY/maker revolution is providing both the technology to underpin novel ATs and the flourishing of devices and systems made ‘in the field, which can provide fresh design perspectives.  

This Special Thematic Session (STS) invites contributions on all aspects of AT abandonment, including but not limited to: 

  • New longitudinal research into abandonment, especially targeting specific types of AT and user populations 
  • Design approaches to mitigating or entirely avoiding AT abandonment
  • Frameworks for research-based design of AT with lower probabilities of abandonment
  • End-user involvement in AT design to address issues of abandonment
  • Mitigating cost issues in ATs
  • Guidelines for manufacturers or deployers to avoid AT abandonment
  • Successful case studies in AT abandonment mitigation and avoidance

Contributions to the STS have to be submitted using the standard submission procedures of ICCHP.


  • Helen Petrie, Human Computer Interaction Research Group, Department of Computer Science, University of York

  • Stefan Carmien, Human Computer Interaction Research Group, Department of Computer Science, University of York

Contributions to a STS have to be submitted using the standard submission procedures of ICCHP.
When submitting your contribution please make sure to select the right STS under the category "STS/Session".
Contributions to a STS are evaluated by the Programme Committee of ICCHP and by the chair(s) of the STS.
Please get in contact with the STS chairs for discussing your involvement and pre-evaluation of your contribution.
Submission Deadline for Contributions to STSs: February 1, 2018