The COSPATIAL (Communication and social participation: collaborative technologies for interaction and learning) pro-ject explores how we can develop effective and useful educational technologies in the form of shared active surfaces (SAS) and collaborative virtual environments (CVEs) to support the enhancement of social skills for children with autism spectrum conditions (ASC). The UK design team comprises of technology developers, design engineers, educational psychologists as well as teachers from both mainstream and autism specialist schools. A user centred design approach is being used to make decisions and review prototype development using CVE technology. The involvement of teachers throughout the entire process is crucial, but in order to understand the primary user further and design optimally it is also desirable to directly involve the end users in the design process. This paper describes the participatory design approach for elicitation of user requirements and CVE design that is being used with typically developing children and how these methods have been adapted to facilitate involvement of children with ASC.
©2011 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston