Numerous educational apps fall short when it comes to design, instruction, content and various other features that high-quality educational software should have. A miniscule number of designers incorporate research-based approaches when designing educational apps. It is considered near impossible to scientifically study and evaluate all the educational apps available in the various stores. The sudden inundation of apps forms part of the digital revolution whereby games and learning are integrated from non-digital forms to digital forms in an unregulated manner. Each app has its own unique approach to design which may include illustrations, drawings, photographs, abstract concepts,
animations, sounds and various tactile activities. Vocabulary apps should be designed to
effectively draw attention to letters and words being taught, positively contributing to language learning. However, the effectiveness of the design of vocabulary apps specifically for children with ASD is brought into question since the visual processing in ASD is unique and different. The study identified multimedia design guidelines for vocabulary apps assisting early language learning in children with ASD. A Design Science Research Model was incorporated creating an artefact (multimedia design guidelines) which was developed and validated throughout four phases. The expert opinions of speech therapists and an educational specialist were collated with the results of eye tracking data of children with ASD interacting with vocabulary apps. In addition, video coding and checklists were utilised to identify multimedia learning principles, graphic
design elements and principles as well as auditory and tactile stimuli. The identification
of effective multimedia design guidelines occurred by identifying the vocabulary app with the highest number of fixations on letters and words. The result was effective multimedia design guidelines for vocabulary apps. Various learning theories were incorporated into the conceptual framework which included the engagement of sensory, working and longterm memory. The engagement of these different memories provided a greater prospect for language learning to take place successfully. This study anticipates that these identified multimedia design guidelines will be the starting point of vocabulary apps that contribute more effectively to early language learning for children with ASD.