As part of a capstone project, myself and a team of 4 other designers worked towards RSA student design competition brief titled “Hidden Figures”. The brief prompted us to come up with a way to make life easier for those living with a hidden disability. Here’s how we did it:
We decided to focus on individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Because we had limited personal experience with ASD, research played a critical role in order to create a solution that would be capable of making a real difference. We contacted industry professionals, attended weekly family support meetings, conducted thorough research online, and worked with individuals on the spectrum throughout the entire project.
During the project, we went through several iterations before determining exact which idea we would pursue.
A cell phone stim case designed as an inconspicuous fidget toy to play with to increase focus.
A visual scheduler with built in AI generated backup plans to allow users to avoid shut downs and overloads when their schedule goes awry.
A task-based scheduler designed for employees with ASD and their respective managers that eases communication and allows for predetermined backup plans to be used in the workplace.
Our original idea was to create an application that offered computer generated backup plans for an individual's daily schedule. Upon our first round of testing and the discovery of the video "Autism & Schedules/Routines" by YouTuber Runaway Germ, we discovered that not only was our project not really feasible, but it ultimately would have the ability to make the situation worse for those living with ASD.
We immediately went back to our research and ideation phases and found that individuals living with ASD tend to have difficulties in the workplace due to the emphasis on unspoken social rules and lack of direction and clarity in the workplace. In fact, 85% of post-secondary educated adults with ASD are unemployed or underemployed. We therefore decided to pivot our focus to helping individuals with ASD thrive in the workplace.
We started with a low fidelity prototype for our first rounds of user testing. After each round of user testing, we used the information provided to make changes to the functionality and design of the application. The final employee prototype can be used here and the final manager prototype can be used here.
We created Glide: a task-based scheduler for employees with ASD and their managers. Managers created individualized task-based schedules on a desktop portal in order to help both parties optimize their workdays. We are currently working on securing funding to take Glide to the next level and make a difference in the lives of millions of North Americans.