Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Engineering and Sciences

First Advisor

Alexandre Lucas Stephane

Second Advisor

Frank M. Webbe

Third Advisor

Nicholas Weatherly

Fourth Advisor

Marco Carvalho


Autism Spectrum Disorder treatment is a real challenge in our society. In an attempt to manage this, Augmentative and Alternative Communication devices became more and more prevalent in the form of software installed on portable devices such as tablets. These mobile applications help individuals with autism to enhance their communication capabilities. Some of the concerns pertaining to the success these systems are the efficacy and the capability, the ease of use, and the user engagement. The research described in this thesis focuses on the usability of a particular application named Livox. This usability evaluation consisted of a threefold approach: (1) a heuristic evaluation, (2) a usability testing with users, and (3) an evaluation survey distributed to parents of 6 autistic children after they had used the application for 6 weeks. The issues identified from the combination of the different usability evaluations were mainly related to the user interface and information architecture. Based on the gathered data, design improvements have been prototyped and additional features have been proposed. This thesis begins by first introducing autism and the projects context. Second, different types of Augmentative and Alternative communication systems are presented. Third, a literature review about usability in general and the methods used in this project in particular are explained. Then, the results from the usability evaluation have been detailed and potential improvements generated. Afterwards, design improvements have been proposed and prototyped before finishing by a conclusion and future work.