After presenting MuppetMe to Sesame Street, my partner and I felt enthused with the project and continued to work on it through the Stanford Venture Studio. Although user testing with Alex provided promising feedback, we were curious to see how other children with Autism Spectrum Disorder might respond.
We set up testing with a seven-year-old named Akil and his family. Here are the first few pages Akil's higher-resolution MuppetMe prototype:
We were excited to test with Akil but it didn't go as planned. The second we laid the iPad in front of him, he clicked the home button, found the YouTube App and searched for a video of Woody from Toy Story. For Akil, muppets weren't very engaging. But Woody was a hit.
Using this information, we revised MuppetMe to make iCanGo. iCanGo is a storymaking platform for parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Parents download customizable story spines about a social situation that makes their child anxious. The child's name and image are embedded into the story, making them the main character. Parents can also upload a picture of a child's favorite fantasy character as a supporting actor in the story to motivate. So if Akil needs to feel comfortable about going to the airport, Woody will help him along.
Or if your daughter Abby prefers Elsa:
To further the project along, we partnered with a local autism center. Our goal is to get feedback for two core questions: What type of social situations are most useful for children to experience through iCanGo? How can we make the experience on the parent end as simple and meaningful as possible?