Abstract : We report on the design process leading to the creation of MapSense, a multi-sensory interactive map for visually impaired children. We conducted a formative study in a specialized institute to understand children’s educational needs, their context of care and their preferences regarding interactive technologies. The findings (1) outline the needs for tools and methods to help children to acquire spatial skills and (2)
provide four design guidelines for educational assistive technologies. Based on these findings and an iterative process, we designed and deployed MapSense in the institute during two days. It enables collaborations between children with a broad range of impairments, proposes reflective and ludic scenarios and allows caretakers to customize it as they wish. A field experiment reveals that both children and caretakers considered the system successful and empowering.