Designing Mobile Technologies for Neurodiversity

In recent years, a lot of work on mobile technology has been created for neurodiverse people. As they are meant to be carried around everywhere at every moment of the day, mobile devices, such as smartphones and wearables, may impact a variety of life domains, representing an always-on support that may make their lives easier and more autonomous.

Although we know that these technologies can be beneficial, there are a variety of open issues that still need to be addressed. For example:

  • How can we design personalized applications that fit the idiosyncratic experiences of these populations also taking into account comorbidities
  • How can we design systems that address physical impairments combined with neurodiversity?
  • How can we design technology that bridges the misunderstandings between neurodiverse and neurotypical people, facilitating their collaboration and helping both to be full members of the everyday world?
  • What do we need to go really beyond “assistive” technologies?
  • What are the theoretical and moral foundations that would enable us to do so?
  • What changes are needed in the methodologies we use to create and evaluate technology?

In this workshop, we recognize that mobile applications have a potential in making everyday environments more accessible from the cognitive point of view. But what we aim to identify are the challenges that we are facing now in this field and the strategies to tackle them. In doing so, we want to focus on the neurodiverse people’s idiosyncratic needs, also exploring ways for directly involving them in the design process.

To summarize, the workshop aims to discuss the main technological, methodological, theoretical and design issues that researchers and practitioners are facing when designing for neurodiverse people, exploring novel strategies to address them.

Relevant workshop topics include but are not limited to:

i) Novel mobile technologies for specific neurodiverse user groups, e.g., people with autism, or dementia, aged individuals, etc.;
ii) Novel interfaces addressed to increase the cognitive accessibility of mobile applications and devices;
iii) User studies focusing on neurodiverse people addressed to inspire novel designs;
iv) Methodologies for involving neurodiverse individuals in design;
v) Thought-provoking insights and theoretical reflections on how mobile technology could impact neurodiverse users in the future, and how we can face the challenges that this diversity poses for the research/design
vi) Use cases that investigate the effectiveness of mobile solutions for neurodiversity

There are two modalities for participating to the workshop:

1. Submit a full paper (four-to-six pages long) or a position paper (two-page long) related to the themes of the workshop.

Papers should be formatted according to the ACM SIG proceedings template 
Note that the references do not count towards page limits. Submissions should be single blinded, i.e. authors names should be included in the submissions.

Papers will be reviewed by two members of the program committee on the basis of their relevance to the workshop topics, quality of the exposition and, mainly, potential to elicit discussion during the workshop. Accepted papers will be published in the Workshop Proceedings and will be invited to submit an extended version to a journal Special Issue (TBD).

2. Submit a manifestation of interest to participate to the workshop outlining the submitter’s perspective on the workshop topics and her reasons for participating .

Papers and manifestations of interest should be sent by email to:

The workshop will have an highly interactive structure, whereby participants will be invited to discuss relevant issues and envision novel solutions using a research through design approach.

For any questions please write to: