Marga is a mobile application coupled with a wearable to enable indoor wayfinding for people with cognitive impairments. The solution is mainly targetted at dyscalculics who have trouble with spatial reasoning. The app allows users to create, and search for maps and use them to navigate. It allows them to add markers to cue them of their path.
My Key Contributions
"Indoor navigation is a major struggle for people with dyscalculia."
Dyscalculia is a learning disability which affects the individual's ability to comprehend and manipulate numbers. Dyscalculics may or may not also struggle with time, measurement, and spatial reasoning.
Dyscalculia affects 3 to 6% of the population. Due to lack of awareness of the learning disability, most dyscalculics go undiagnosed or receive very little help. It leads to dyscalculics to rely heavily on their caregiver or struggle with cumbersome workarounds.
We conducted an initial literature review to gain a better understanding of dyscalculia and the existing assistive technology.
We recruited 10 participants over social media, mainly, Facebook, and Tumblr. We framed an interview script, with the information we gathered during the initial literature review.
We consolidated the data from the interviews using a cognitive map. The cognitive map helped us understand the different challenges dyscalculics faced and how they impacted to each other and their quality of life.
Cognitive map afforded insight on various aspects to consider while designing for
dyscalculics. It puts the severity of the problems faced by dyscalculics in perspective. It revealed
the problems for which they have some sort of solution versus problems for which they have no
solution but to muddle through with it.
The main problem areas we identified were numbers and finance, time management and navigation. Since each of them are complex problem spaces themselves, we chose to focus on navigation. Based on our interviews, we found that dyscalculics wished their movement was less stressful and more independent.
We individually brainstormed for 10- 15 ideas prior to a team brainstorming session. This helped us have a more productive team brainstorm session and each of us brought a unique perspective to the solution. We used a homebrewed set of envisioning cards to explore design options.
We developed a wearable technology with the following features:
The application will allow users to receive real time directions for indoor navigation based on their location.
Users will receive automatic step by step directions to the destination of their choice.
Users can add trackers to the maps for cues that will ultimately lead them to their desired direction.
Parents/Guardians can configure a map for their child to help them get to their classrooms and other commonly visited spaces.
I have sent out the interactive prototype to participants and in the process of gathering feedback. The next step would be to analyze the feedback and incorporate the findings in a high fidelity prototype.