Early-childhood children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
What learning needs and challenges exist for these children today?
How can I use technology to help early-childhood children learn more effectively?
Before I decided to create an augmented reality (AR) game for children with autism, I first conducted a series of user research and needs analysis to better understand my audience and to better brainstorm ideas that made sense.
MY RESEARCH PROCESS
To start, I sat down to freely write about my own experience with people with autism. This helped me draft out a list of questions that later supported my research and idea development process, as well as how I wanted to drive the overall design of the app.
Prior to attempting different research methodologies, I observed diverse special education classrooms, varying from level and size. Due to the nature of the environment, I was unable to take pictures, but below are some notes I took during the observation.
Based on the questions derived from observation, I interviewed special education teachers to get a better understanding of learners with autism. One of the challenges of researching the target audience was that it was difficult to communicate with children with autism. Instead, we worked closely with professionals working with this group.
In addition to interviewing special education teachers that work closely with children with autism, I conducted an additional set of qualitative interviews with parents. This helped me to get a better understanding of these children from a non-school setting.
In attempt to create a design that has yet to exist, I researched various products that had a similar nature in using mixed reality to help people with autism, as well as different augmented reality apps that dealt with the same content (shapes).
I created personas to get a better understanding of my potential users. This helped me to think about the instructional design of the overall experience from various perspectives.
A different series of user tests have been executed to test the various prototypes that were made as part of this project. User tests varied from testing usability, to measuring engagement of usage of the technology for this target group.
This application is currently still in further development. Therefore, various user tests will be conducted further.
Differently from preceding user tests that focused on usability, it will be designed to measure the effectiveness of technology on learning and motivation.