One-Day Workshop at British HCI Conference, 14 July 2015, Lincoln

We are holding a workshop at this year's British HCI conference, one of the key international conferences on human-computer interaction. The workshop explores the challenges and opportunities of designing interactive tools for people with autism

We would like to bring together researchers, practitioners and users who can share good ideas and good practice for designing interactive systems for people on the autism spectrum. We are particularly interested in user-centred approaches that involve autistic people in the design of these systems.

While our particular focus is on autism, we also welcome participants who work with other neuro-diverse users, e.g. those with ADHD, dyspraxia or dyslexia.

These user groups typically welcome structure, both in their daily routines and their social interactions. Research has shown when it comes to digital interfaces, preference is given to those that are simple and well-structured. Complex interfaces which may well stimulate other users were found to be confusing and abstract. Designing for this user group can be challenging since established design practices may prove difficult to apply. Also, autistic people may struggle with the roles typically assumed in user-centred design approaches that rely on active user involvement, participation in co-creation and co-design sessions, and prototype testing.

In this workshop, we would like to identify good practice in this area and exchange ideas with like-minded researchers and practitioners, as well as with users.

Invitation to participate

If you have an interest in this area then we would like to hear from you. We invite researchers (regardless of the stage of your research - fresh ideas are the best ideas!), technology and interaction designers, professionals who work with autistic people and people who are on the autistic spectrum and have experiences - good or bad - of using technology.

Please use the ONLINE APPLICATION FORM to provide us with the following information:

About you: What is your background and what are your interests? What made you perk up when you read the workshop call?
About your project: What will you share with the other workshop participants, what is unique or novel about your project? You don’t necessarily need to have started your project. Having an interesting idea is as valuable as having completed a study with useful findings.
The return on investment: What do you expect to get out of attending the workshop – beyond presenting your own ideas or findings?

How the workshop will be conducted

  1. The workshop will start with an introduction by the organisers to the theme and the Autism&Uni project which has faced the challenges of designing interactive tools with and for autistic users (see www.autism-uni.org).
  2. Penny Andrews, one of the organisers (who is on the autistic spectrum) will share her own experiences, positive and otherwise, of using software designed for autistic users.
  3. Participants will share their experiences, methodologies, ideas and the projects they are working on.
  4. A design task involving all participants, intended to put the shared best practice principles into action.
  5. Wrap-up with final insights and conclusions.

Important dates and costs

The deadline for applications is Sunday 31 May 2015 at 23:59. We will notify accepted participants by 15 June 2015. The workshop itself will take place on 14 July 2015.

Please note that following acceptance for this workshop, you need to register at the BCS-HCI conference website. The fee for attending the workshop is £75 and will be collected when you register online. Please note that you do not have to register for the full conference to take part in this workshop.

About us

Marc Fabri (www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/marcfabri / m.fabri@leedsbeckett.ac.uk) is a researcher at Leeds Beckett University. He leads the Autism&Uni project which aims to widen access to Higher Education for young adults on the autism spectrum. A key project outcome will be an interactive toolkit that helps students navigate the transition from school to university, and cope with the challenges of the first few months of study. Autistic people are involved in the project at all stages.

Penny Andrews (p.c.andrews@leedsbeckett.ac.uk / https://twitter.com/pennyb) is a Research Assistant for Autism&Uni and also a writer, artist, performer, researcher, sprinter and qualified librarian. She is an Ambassador for the National Autistic Society and campaigns on issues affecting adults with autism.

We’re holding this workshop because we want to share our experiences from the Autism&Uni project whilst also learning from others’ experiences.