Mystery Shopping: Raising the profile of an online AAC resource



Sponsored Research

  • Lois Cameron (Talking Mats Ltd)
  • Grant Douglas (Talking Mats Ltd)
  • Elspeth Molony (Stroke Association Scotland)


This paper discusses how we brought the web resource ‘Making Communication Even Better’ (MCEB) to the attention of health staff. The web resource was originally developed in 2012 and aimed to help health staff reflect and improve their communicative practice when working with people with communication disability, including those who use AAC. However, a web resource is only effective if staff know about it and use it. The group of people with communication support needs involved in the orginal MCEB resource sought and got funding to conduct a follow-on ‘mystery shopping’ project as an innovative and creative way to promote the online MCEB resource.


There were different strands to the project: promotion and marketing of the original resource; using mystery shopping techniques to phone or visit various types of health services; collecting stories of the communication experience of using the health service when you have a communication disability. The mystery shoppers were people with a communication disability and included some who use AAC.


The success and challenges of this ‘mystery shopping’ approach to promoting a communication resource will be discussed and the results of the mystery shopping project presented.


The term ‘mystery shopping’ caused some controversy but did result in a significant take up of the web resource. The experience of people with a range of communication disability using the health service is wide ranging. It is hoped that the good practice identified can be used to improve the quality of care for all with communication disability.

Level of Session


Age Group

All Ages


Further/Higher Ed.