Developing educational games for children with ASC. VENECA- Virtual Environment for Navigational Education for Children with ASC
This thesis describes the full design process of VENECA, a research tool for experts in the area of cognitive science who specialize in children with ASC. The initial sections of this work concentrate on analyses of open questions and underexplored hypotheses in the area that can potentially be interesting to future expert users, and specifications of interconnected flexible features that could assist experts in their research studies. A review of different deficits of children with ASC, research directions and previous work, done in the area, and critical analysis of analogous computational tools in the area suggested potential problems and doubtful design decisions of the currently existing computer games that had to be avoided VENECA. After that, by means of pre-design analysis, all the constraints and goals of the project were met, and user requirements were specified. As a result, VENECA was developed as a research tool with a game as an internal cognitive element. The design process, which was organised in an iterative fashion, allowed precise specification of all design decisions and adjustment of the system to the needs of both children and research users. Prototype testings with experts in the area provided valuable feedback about not only the experts’ requirements, but also those of the child user’s. The fact that this feedback was gained during the whole design process allowed for the quick and low-cost fixing of all potential usability problems. At the end of this project, a full scope of initial goals was achieved, and the first version of VENECA was implemented as a complete software package with all necessary manuals and documentation. It provides necessary support for experts in order to answer a set of initial questions. Moreover, flexible combinations of features suggest that experts will potentially be able to specify their own research questions in the future. However, there still exist many directions for future extensions of VENECA, which were also analysed, described and justified in this work.
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