This projects involves creating a website structure for the Autism Spectrum 360 Initiative. The Initiative is a joint venture from Seattle Children's Hospital and the University of Washington to help those affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).


UX Designer in a team of 4


Individuals with ASD, their families, and their communities need a trusted source to turn to for information, resources, and support. My team partnered with Seattle Children’s, UW Medicine, and the University of Washington, to build the foundation for just such a resource. We chose a user-centered approach for creating the information architecture, UX design, and taxonomy of the web portal for the Autism Spectrum 360 Initiative. The design of the portal focuses on integrated resources, accessible design, and usable navigation.

The goal of this project is to create the portal design for a website for all individuals and families impacted by ASD and related disorders/conditions across the lifespan. The structure of the website should be built in such a way that users have access to individualized, state of the art services and support when they need it, how they need it and where they need it in order to build on strengths and improve quality of life.


We began the research by conducting interviews and surveys to gather data. We conducted interviews with various user types to get a deeper understanding of the emotions and information needs of parents of children with autism. On the basis of the research results, we created a competitive analysis. We also researched the information seeking behaviors of people with autism, to help us create usable navigation. The process involved gathering data regarding aspects of the individual’s lifestyle, including what role their family plays in supporting them, whether they are employed and in what professions, and what has been their biggest challenge with autism. The answers to these questions helped to inform our site design.


Based on our research and competitive analysis we cerated 3 personas that embodied the archetypes of our user groups.

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With the design requirements in mind, we brainstormed for ideas and built an Affinity Mapand a Card Sort for parents of children with autism, for assessing our category labels and to determine how to organize the content on the site

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Next, we built a content roadmap for the website structure. This roadmap helped us empathize with our users and understand their thinking while navigating the website.


To better empathize with our users we created scenarios that showcased the user journies during their time on the website. The diagram below shows a user journey for "Pam" who is a mother of an autistic child.

In the first scenario,Pam needs to find out how to navigate the health insurance process for autism interventions. Pam wakes up in the middle of the night and is worried about how her son’s treatment plan will be covered by insurance. Her doctor suggested that Pam use only certain websites, like the AS360 portal, to get information since there’s a lot of misleading or inaccurate info out there. She grabs her iPad from her night stand and pulls up the AS360 site.Because she’s is looking for guidance, she intuitively knows to look for health insurance coverage information on the ‘resources and guidance’ page. Once there she clicks on the selection that best describes her role, which is ‘Parents & Guardians of Children with Autism’, and then clicks on ‘Health Insurance’. Once she clicks on ‘Health Insurance’, she’s able to read through the curated content that the AS360 Team has provided and she finds the information that she needs. output

In the second scenario, Pam is feeling isolated and wants to connect with other parents who have children with autism. Pam is feeling isolated and does not know the resources from where she can get help. Her child has been diagnosed with autism and she needs to connect with other parents that have children with autism. Pam opens the Autism Spectrum 360 Initiative website. She notices the ‘Get Connected’’ button and the box for support groups on the homepage. That is exactly the kind of support she is looking for. Her top priority needs were there right away, on the homepage. output

In the third scenario, Pam needs to absorb terminology related to autism interventions and therapies. Now that her son has been diagnosed, Pam is doing some research on autism while her kids are at day-care and she has some time to focus. Pams pulls up the AS360 portal, and she is easily available to notice the search bar at the top of the page with the classic icon. output


Based on our research, we came up with the Site Map for the Autism Spectrum Initiative. We made several iterations and conducted usability tests with the clients to understand their perspectives while navigating the websites.


A website structure is incomplete without a wireframe. We used the Balsamiq tool for building the wireframes for the website. We kept in mind the pain points of the users who navigate the website, and tried to make them as simple and accessible as possible. You can access all wireframes here. Below are a few selected wireframes-

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