I wanted to understand the emotional drivers that motivate them to use products. What do they expect and want to accomplish from different tools? What feelings do the instruments and sounds generate? What is it about them that does this?
Alex is non-verbal; she doesn't use words to communicate.
She doesn't know what to do when she's shown a microphone. Its color and shape make it look like a stick or ice cream, so she often bites and licks it.
Her dad finds it hard to show her what to do because microphones can be intimidating.
Meet Joshua – a curious and energetic 4-year old who has autism.
He loves exploring things that have texture and quickly loses interest if he doesn't get enough sensory feedback.
Josh struggles to produce sounds from instruments because he plays very lightly. This means he can't be part of the group.
Natalie loves being independent and trying new things.
She has a small range of movement.
It's hard for her to do what she wants because many tools made for kids with disabilities assume everyone makes large movements. And rely on someone being there to help.
Chloe is a bright, energetic 8-year-old. She's a visual learner who loves creating music.
Like many children, she loves expressing herself through movement.
Many accessible instruments can't translate movement into meaningful music.
We're still making assumptions about disability that lead to designs that don't work and reinforce stereotypes that disability limits creativity.
Many of the kids have multiple disabilities. Instead of assuming what their disability was, I focussed on understanding behavior, motivation, and what hindered or helped achieve their goals.
People use movement and gesture in personal, nuanced, and sophisticated ways, including big and small presses, taps, thumps, slides, and scratches.
Many tools won't recognize and translate these different gestures into meaningful, expressive music.
Changing an instrument or interface's position improves accessibility, interaction, and expression. However, many tools can't be positioned where they're the most comfortable and accessible.
Sophisticated devices like iPads don't give enough tactile and sensory feedback, making them hard to use and explore.