About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1845-1850
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.1382

Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain

END USERS’ PARTICIPATION IN THE DESIGN PROCESS AND PERCEPTIONS OF THE USABILITY OF THE AUTISM&UNI ONLINE TOOLKIT

H.K. Pukki, J.M. Fredriksson, A. Aavikko

Keskuspuisto Vocational College (FINLAND)
Autism&Uni is a multinational EU-funded project running from 2013 to 2016, aiming to promote the chances of young students on the autism spectrum accessing higher education (HE) and succeeding in their studies. These students face a number of challenges that threaten their ability to continue past the early stages of their studies and graduate, including lack of awareness and knowledge concerning autism spectrum conditions, lack of social networks to support them, and certain cognitive characteristics that can make managing studies and student life as a whole difficult, despite their various areas of talent and intense focus.

The project has involved end users at several stages of creating content, design and interactive features for an application intended to serve the needs of HE students on the autism spectrum. In the course of the project, we have learned about the process of working with individuals on the autism spectrum in co-design and evaluation; how the participation of potentially vulnerable individuals can be supported effectively and ethically, minimizing any distress they might be subjected to, and ensuring that they benefit from the experience while they contribute to the research.

The scenarios that form the core content of the online toolkit were built on the basis of survey responses, including first-hand accounts by students. To evaluate the prototype scenarios and to collect ideas concerning design features, a human-centred, participatory design workshop was conducted with autistic students at Leeds Beckett University. This also served as a way to tap into the students’ expert knowledge about themselves and their condition, and give them ownership of the design process. A list of practical tips for running co-design activities with autistic students was compiled on the basis of relevant research literature and observations from the design workshop. In terms of preferences, it was apparent that the small group of participants had certain likes and dislikes commonly expressed in survey responses, but on the other hand they differed from each other in some respects. In some matters, they preferred freedom of choice rather than any one of the specific options offered to them, which implies a need for flexible designs where features can be easily overridden.

To find out how successfully the end users’ preferences are reflected in the final online toolkit, evaluation workshops are to be conducted in December 2015 and January 2016, utilizing the tips and guidelines from the design workshop. The aim is to collect information about end users’ experiences of usability and content, along with suggestions for further development.

We will summarize the evaluation procedures and results from the five Partner countries, and discuss reactions to selected details of content and design, such as the ‘minimal’ look, the overall website architecture, and the features that allow choosing between different styles of displaying content. Our emphasis will be on distinguishing which features may serve the needs of our target groups in local or national contexts and which ones may be universal, potentially appealing to large numbers of students on the autism spectrum across Europe, and thus useful as a general basis for further design of applications and user interfaces.
@InProceedings{PUKKI2016END,
author = {Pukki, H.K. and Fredriksson, J.M. and Aavikko, A.},
title = {END USERS’ PARTICIPATION IN THE DESIGN PROCESS AND PERCEPTIONS OF THE USABILITY OF THE AUTISM&UNI ONLINE TOOLKIT},
series = {10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2016 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-5617-7},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2016.1382},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2016.1382},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {7-9 March, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {1845-1850}}
TY - CONF
AU - H.K. Pukki AU - J.M. Fredriksson AU - A. Aavikko
TI - END USERS’ PARTICIPATION IN THE DESIGN PROCESS AND PERCEPTIONS OF THE USABILITY OF THE AUTISM&UNI ONLINE TOOLKIT
SN - 978-84-608-5617-7/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2016.1382
PY - 2016
Y1 - 7-9 March, 2016
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2016 Proceedings
SP - 1845
EP - 1850
ER -
H.K. Pukki, J.M. Fredriksson, A. Aavikko (2016) END USERS’ PARTICIPATION IN THE DESIGN PROCESS AND PERCEPTIONS OF THE USABILITY OF THE AUTISM&UNI ONLINE TOOLKIT, INTED2016 Proceedings, pp. 1845-1850.
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