Gesture is a prototype of an app that was created after a 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.
The stages the project went through was: creating a purpose, research, interviews, concept, prototyping, and solution.
When thinking about a topic for my thesis I started off in the direction of how technology has impacted the way we communicate. Exploring deeper into this idea, I came across some challenges that the Deaf community face when communicating. I came into realization that there is no modern tool to help them that embraces their main source of communication instead of eliminating it. Not everything is made for a Deaf person, so some situations may be challenging to overcome, even if it’s simple. So I want to create a tool or asset that will help a Deaf person have ease in any situation.
I began to research more into this topic to help back up my thesis statement. There is a lack of accommodation for Deaf people and it is not only a problem in undeveloped countries but everywhere. One of the most important accessibilities that Deaf people need is visual services. Generally, this problem is because of the lack of Deaf awareness, especially depending on how each country view Deaf people.
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 diability,” 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.
I began to do some experiments and really pushing the idea of white one white and seeing how far I can do that. I wanted to explore using hands throughout my project.
I began to explore some type treatments that coud possibly be used as part of my deliverables. I started to explore the idea of shadows. I played with this idea because of the statement “invisible disability.” I cut out letters and stuck them to a wall vertically. Then I shined a light on them and a shadow was cast showing the word I had cut out.
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 a 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.
This is the final logo for my app ‘gesture.’ There is a text bubble around the name because the app’s main use is to communicate with other people.
Just looking at the logo is shows two parts within my app; messaging and hand communicating.
This is my final app. It is clear and simple and it is in black and white because I wanted everything to be clear when helping to communicate a thought to someone without any confusion.
The concept behind the poster is playing with the idea of “invisible disability.” The saying “deaf living in a hearing centred world” is in the center of the poster and it is a little hard to read. The photographs in the background also say the saying but in sign language. Finally, there are three letters layered on the photos that was from my shawdow display. Once you see the letters, you can’t unsee them, just like when a deaf person tells you that they are deaf.