UX Research: Autsera
Autsera needed UXers to come in and help define their main customer set before implementing any sort of system.
Autsera took me and another colleague from Gradprentice to help them define their main user set. I took the lead with what activities we should carry out most of the time.
Autsera were relatively starting their journey as a start-up at the time. Autsera is an application 'for children who are different, but certainly not less. We give a helping hand to autistic children to develop their social skills. We do that through engaging, interactive games and apps, that children can play any time any where'. See www.autsera.com.
Autsera went on to raise thousands of pounds for funding. My involvement has facilitated achieving their aim which is to provide a platform for autism 'training' sessions outside of a clinic.
Design process for this project
Short video about Autsera on YouTube.
Note: This work has a NDA on top of it. The work is not shown here as a result. Artefacts are available on request and confirmation from Autersa management.
We joined Autsera when they had their first observation session. The observations were held in a nursery in Kingston, London. To help facilitate note-taking during my observations I used a framework. The framework helped me give a proper retrospect of observations that happened on the day in later analysis sessions. The framework also helped huge amounts of data to be sorted. The framework focused on:
Space: What is the physical space like and how is it laid out?
Actors: What are the names and relevant details of the people involved?
Activities: What are the actors doing and why?
Objects: What physical objects are present, such as furniture?
Acts: What are specific individual actions?
Events: Is what you observe part of a special event?
Time: What is the sequence of events?
Goals: What are the actors trying to accomplish?
Feelings: What is the mood of the group and of individuals?
Location of observations for Autsera.
Following the observations, we did a qualitative analysis using affinity diagrams. We carried out the normal process where we wrote down observations and later put common observations into themes. This allowed us to see the common issues associated with a child who has autism. For example, we found out children usually have their unique interests.
Looking into the data more and more it became clear there are a plethora of struggles children with autism face.
Theme generation from affinity diagramming with Autsera's founders. Images blurred to hide any work covered by the NDA.
Triangulation and Child Persona Creation
To make a persona with a more concrete justification of its content we amalgamated data from a questionnaire the founders put out before we joined (triangulation). The questionnaire data had accounts of struggles children faced both in public and at home through autism.
My colleague and I examined both sets (observations and questionnaire responses) of data and ranked the struggles on a spectrum in the persona. This was done to show future product designers the issues they are going to commit to solving through some application (e.g Virtual Reality, social stories, games etc).
Data about the games played and devices used by children on the persona came directly from the questionnaire data. All other section's content was bought in from observation and interviews carried out previously.
Another persona was created for parents but involved my colleague and founder of Autsera creating it. The personas were created using Google Slides.
Through triangulation with questionnaire data, we were able to create a more justified persona.
User Journeys and Competitor Review
To aid future product designers we created typical user journeys children with autism face. The user journeys provided context for issues faced by Autsera's main target audience and that product designers gravitate to the pain points. We also created user journeys for parents to show their issues too. The user journey was created using Miro.
We also completed a competitor review to showcase the good and bad implementations by other applications providing social skills for children with autism. Again this was something created to help product designers in their design phase.
User journeys we created and a part of the competitor review document we created (image deleted Jan 2021 due to NDA).
Shortly after these tasks, we left Autsera and they continued their journey in trying to provide social skills training for children with Autism.
They have created some version of an application and have seemed to use some colours we had brought to light through our competitor review (see above). Other use of our research is unknown but we were assured that our research helped the product design team. Autsera has also raised thousands of pounds to help continue their journey! Finally the founders have been pushing their product at large investor pitch events (see https://www.autsera.com/news/autsera-pitches-at-plexal-mid-way-showcase).
Autsera are continuing their journey and now have a version of their application.