The purpose of this project was to design and implement core features of the already existing “How was School Today?” (HwST) system on a mobile phone device. The device was to be used by staff and students in a special school catering for children with severe physical and intellectual disabilities.
The project was approached with a user-centred design philosophy in mind, with an iterative method approach to development. Potential users were observed in the environment in which the application is to be used, in order to gain a better understanding of the users’ requirements. It was necessary to focus on two separate user groups; the school staff and parents, and the students.
The application that resulted from the project gave users the opportunity to store photos and record audio files in the form of story entries. It was successfully used to record a story for one of the students in the class when they were on their weekly school trip. The student was then able to tell the story of her trip to the shopping centre later that day.
Despite the results of this project being specific to one class in one school, designed for a particular set of staff and students, the application has generalised applicability to other users in similar environments with similar needs. The “How was School Today?” Goes Mobile (HwSt-GoMo) app could be used by any class of children with complex communication needs to tell stories, so long as they are supported by staff in its use.