Decision-Based Universal Design - Using Copulas to Model Disability 2015-01-0418
This paper develops a design paradigm for universal products. Universal design is term used for designing products and systems that are equally accessible to and usable by people with and without disabilities. Two common challenges for research in this area are that (1) There is a continuum of disabilities making it hard to optimize product features, and (2) There is no effective benchmark for evaluating such products. To exacerbate these issues, data regarding customer disabilities and their preferences is hard to come by. We propose a copula-based approach for modeling market coverage of a portfolio of universal products. The multiattribute preference of customers to purchase a product is modeled as Frank's Archimedean Copula. The inputs from various disparate sources can be collected and incorporated into a decision system. Thereafter, an optimal portfolio is found through optimization which takes into account the disability level continuum while accounting for overlap demand within the product family. We present a case study to demonstrate our approach and present results of various sensitivity analyses.