How can we improve the collaboration between surroundings ( parents, caregivers, teachers ) support individuals with autism ?
"Know Me" is a digital platform for stakeholders to collaborate together by recording and sharing the daily situations of the individuals with autism. Stakeholders can use this tool to analyze the individual's condition and develop methods to enhance their standard of living.
"Know Me" makes the collaboration more efficient and meaningful. It gives stakeholders a way to better understand the person with autism which would help stakeholders organize and plan the person's life more effectively.
4 months (Feb 2017-May 2017)
Research : 7 weeks
Ideation : 3 weeks
Implementation : 4 weeks
Delivery : 2 weeks
This project is my master thesis which is a UX and service design project. It is about exploring autism system in Norway and how can we improve the collaboration between surroundings ( parents, caregivers, teachers ) support individuals with autism. The overarching goal of this project is to improve the lives of individuals with autism and people around them.
The project starts from a very broad topic: autism. The service design approach was used during the research phase. I explored the autism system in Norway to get an overview of the current situation. I then narrowed the project down to the more specific area of collaboration between stakeholders. I engaged with parents, caregivers, and other stakeholders when creating discussable artefacts in order to advance the design process.
What is Autism?
Autism is a lifelong and complex neurodevelopmental condition that affects the way a person communicates and relates to other people and the world around them. As a spectrum disorder, it affects people in different ways. People with autism may have rigid routines and special interests; they can be sociable or find social relations difficult; some have learning disabilities.
Daily life of people with autism
People with autism may can’t talk, and can’t express their feelings, and even can’t take care of themselves. Many of them need high level of support with most aspects in their daily life from people around them（ parents, caregivers,teacher ). These people play important roles in providing assistance with leisure activities, personal care,learning and training.
Biggest Challenge in Norway
The project was narrowed down to the collaboration between stakeholders during the interview when exploring the system. During the research, all the stakeholders, parents, caregivers, and coordinators mentioned that collaboration is the biggest challenge they are facing currently in Norway.
Interview & Observation
In order to get a deeper understanding of what the current collaboration situation is and why collaboration is the biggest challenge in Norway, I started out by doing a couple of in-depth interviews with several core stakeholders (parents, caregivers, teacher, and coordinator) and observed their daily work to understand their roles, how they support people with autism and how they collaborate with each other ( care home, school, home).
Collaboration situation now
The collaboration situation now is that stakeholders often use a notebook to collaborate and communicate with each other. During the day, the person with autism will take this book to different places, school, care home, activity centre and home. Parents, caregiver and teacher will write down the daily situation of the person in the book to exchange information. They normally write down general information like what the person did during these time.
From the research gathering, I got 6 key insights which would prove to be my design principles.
1. Important information like health condition, food intake, bathroom situation can’t be documented in the notebook due to the information security.
2. There is a lack of information analysis for recording.
3. Valuable information always gets lost.
4. There is no direct communication channel between stakeholders.
5. The trajectory of a person's progress and achievements is undocumented.
6. No common understanding of the person they support.
Based on stakeholders’ s different needs from the research, I held a workshop to understand what information they care about most which would help me to define the scope to determine how to best prioritize the design goals, features, and functionality. During the workshop, the main functions of the platform were detected: Recording and Sharing. I then prioritized all the features of functions into high medium, and low categories.
In order to clarify the scope of the platform, a function and purpose map was created. Based on the function map, I made the information architecture to explore how the pieces of the platform will fit together and behave. Then I started to sketch ideas, make prototypes and test with users. As the data recording is the main function and thinking of using context of the users, the way for recording information should be easy and time-saving. So I had a section to explore the different ways of recording. And my approach is based on quick iterations with testing and feedback driving the process. I made 4 iterations before setting up the final design solution.
Sketch & IA & Iterations
The final concept is a digital platform called "Know Me" for all stakeholders (parents/ caregivers/ teachers/ coordinators) to collaborate together by recording and sharing the daily situations and general information of the individuals with autism. Stakeholders can use this tool to analyse the individual's condition and develop methods to enhance the lives of the person they support. The platform has two versions, one for phone, one for tablet. The reason I made two versions is phone would be much easier to use in daily work which is suitable for registering information.
Instant insights in the person's situation
Profile of the person
Get patterns , make adjustments
Common understanding of the person
IPHONE - Collect Data
In everyday life, The parens, caregivers and teacher would use the phone to track the person's daily life to share information.
All the stakeholders can get access and contribute to this platform at anytime.
Cover all the information that stakeholders want to know and share
All the stakeholders can get access and contribute to this platform at anytime.
There are six types of information will be recorded. Stakeholders can get into different recording pages by tapping different categories.The information is entered in a simple, easily understood format.
Instant insights in the person’s situation
The timeline is the homepage for this platform (phone). All the recorded events will be displayed in the timeline. The events and the time will be showed in the timeline. Note, picture and location will also be showed if recorded.
A general understanding of the daily situation of the person , ease of knowing he is fine
This page gives stakeholders a general overview of the daily situation of the person by different categories. They can easily see that how many times he/she went to the toilet, what kind of behaviours the person had today, and what kind of activities he/she did and how long.
Communicate with each other /send feedback directly
This platform also enables communication between stakeholders.
Under the "Messages" application, stakeholders can write to each other
if there is an emergency, or anything pertinent to be discussed.
Information is entered in a simple and easily understood format.
Time, location, note and pictures are essential to describe an event, which would give people a vivid understanding of the situation.
TABLET - Analyse Data
After all the data is collected, the recorded data will be summed up and analysed in the tablet. Parents, teacher, caregiver and coordinator can get access to the tablet to get an overview of the data and get patterns to make adjustments to the life of the person.
Changing trend of different categories
Get understanding of person's development
Stakeholders can see the changing trend of different categories to get an understanding of the person’s development.
For instance, They can see if the person has more self-injury behaviours recently, or if he is getting more seizures or less during these time. The changing trend of different categories would help them to see if the person is getting better or worse.
Get patterns by comparing different categories
Make adjustments to enhance the person’s life
Stakeholders can not only see the person's development, also get to know why he/she is getting better or worse by comparing the different categories.
Because some categories are related.
For instance, seizures can be triggered by lack of sleep. We can see here the increase in frequency of epilepsy is associated with an decrease in sleeping hours. Then the parents can realise that the reason for the person has more seizures recently is lack of sleep. So they can make adjustment by helping him get more sleep.
"It is great than you only take few seconds to record a event in a
- Caregiver from Engløkka, Asker
This app gives you a way to talk with your child about his day.
- Father of kid with austim
"This app is really functional, which in an easy way to get an overview of his situation, and the development of his health
and behaviours." - Coordinator, Asker
We can get to know if he is getting better or worse recently from the data. It is exactly what we need.
-Father of kid with autism
Looking at it from a broader perspective, this platform not only represents a new relationship between the stakeholders, also between autistic people and the stakeholders. A relationship that empowers the collaboration more effcient and meaningful to help the stakeholders do their best jobs. It also gives autistic people a way to get others to understand them, which would make their life easier and better. The short term effect of this is stakeholders can have a better understanding of the person. For long term effect, this will benefit most of actors within the system, like doctors, coordinators, and Municipality. They can make better decisions or suggestions for improvements of the person based on the how the main stakeholders know this person.