[C] IDC’2020 Paper: Not On Any Map: Co-Designing a Meaningful Bespoke Technology with a Child with Profound Learning Difficulties


We present a case study of co-designing digital technology that offers positive and meaningful experiences with and for a child with profound learning difficulties and his family. We combine Method Stories and Participatory Evaluation to capture the process of engaging with Archie, a seven year old boy affected by brain damage, in performing independently an activity he enjoys and in the learning of communication skills. Our co-design process led to the creation of “Not On Any Map”, an interactive physical device comprised of a custom made box, smart buttons and an Android application. Participatory evaluation with Archie showed that he was highly engaged with the technology, giving him more agency with an overall positive impact on his life and that of his direct family. We thus contribute an outline of an approach to co-designing bespoke technology, and present accounts of interaction in which a non-verbal child with profound learning difficulties can convey meaning through actions and joint attention. These findings open up new spaces for rethinking the function of Augmentative and Alternative Communication system and shape new directions for co-design in this context.