Gesture is a prototype of an app that was created after an 8 month long process. It makes communication easier targeting the needs of a Deaf person. There is a lack of accommodation for Deaf people and it is not only a problem in undeveloped countries but everywhere.
I conducted a interview with Stacey Valle who is a Deaf traveler and has a blog called “Deafinitely Wanderlust.” There are two questions that I want to highlight that helped develop my solution later on.
When traveling to another country, what are some difficulties that you are faced with?
There are several difficulties, and mostly is it due to lack of accessibility and living in audio-centric world. Several bus or any metro drivers (or intercom) usually announce arrival of destinations. I don’t have that access. Another challenge is when some Hearing people just don’t have the patience to communicate with me. They would shout or ignore me when I needed to express what I need.
Are there any technologies that assist you with traveling?
I would say my phone, because it helps me type down what I need to say, or I type down through Google Translation (although it’s not the best), and I also would screenshot several different things, such as maps, name of destinations in their language, food, etc. The phone helps me get by daily to communicate with people.
My concept or art direction behind my final deliverables is the idea that being Deaf is a “invisible disability,” that you don’t know that someone is Deaf until it is pointed out to you. Some techniques that I’m using to achieve this look is shadows and white on white which also represents that people who are deaf live in silence.
My solution for my project is to create an app that helps Deaf people communicate to non-deaf people and for non-deaf people be able to communicate to Deaf people. I decided on this because there is still a disconnect and slow process of integrating modern tools for Deaf people into our mainly hearing society. I chose an app because everyone has a phone on them at all times. This app is a way of not “fixing” Deaf people or trying to take away their main source of communicating which is sign language but to embrace it.