Designing for teens and adults with autism: Busting myths and taking down barriers

Columbia 11 & 12

Much of the research in technology use and autism has focused on children and technology purported to enhance education, communication, and social skills; it has not focused on how people with autism use technology to meet their occupational, economic, healthcare, entertainment, and information needs, and whether there are barriers to that use.

The presenter will help UX professionals who design technologies for the general public understand the needs of people with autism so that they can incorporate that knowledge into their designs. Because approximately 1 in 68 people have autism, this is an important population to consider.

The talk will summarize the latest research on the visual, motor, and cognitive aspects of autism, and dispel some pervasive design myths. It will then summarize the presenter’s research from an extensive survey of parents of teens, with autism and without, intended to better understand the digital behavior of teens with autism and the technology barriers that they encounter.

Participants will leave the session with some guidelines for design that can be applied to their next projects.

Science of Design: Psychology and Cognition in UX