An application that integrating smart glasses and mobile platforms to help Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) and hearing people communicate with ease by connecting an online interpreted to the conversation.
User-Centered Design Methods
The mode of communications used by Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing (DHH) people and hearing people are different which leads to a major gap.
Currently, DHH people do use technologies like typing text messages, software to translate speech to text, and an old fashioned method of pen-and-paper. The problem with all the mentioned methods is that they are time-consuming and they require a lot of effort from the end of DHH people.
To come up with a user-centric design, we first had to understand our users
Our team, being a group of hearing individuals, could only imagine the issues that arrived on daily basis for our deaf and hard-of-hearing peers. But for designing a user-centric solution, imagination was not going to get us far enough! Hence, from the start to the end of the project, at every step, our team consulted the expert user.
To understand the pain points of our users, we interviewed expert users
Expert users are the people who represent the target audience. Our expert user was a Mechanical Engineering undergraduate student who was identified as a Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing individual. Our Expert User is a tech-savvy person, who is co-enrolled with hearing people in an academic environment. As she has to interact with her hearing and DHH peers on daily basis, she could help us identify the pain point of our target audience in a vivid manner.
My Role in the project
I interviewed the expert user and shortlisted key findings which informed our design direction
Among the top 3 final design choices, my design was best fitted for the user's needs. Hence I led the concept generation stage and formulated the design direction that is used in the final design.
I was the in-charge of creating sketches, low and high fidelity prototypes that reflected our concepts and allowed us to test our designs
I was the in-charge of observing users and figure out the issues they faced during user-testing. I was responsible for understanding, evaluating, and re-iterating the designs that fit best for the users.
What I learned from this project
Communicating with the Expert User
Our Expert User was a DHH individual while our team was made up of hearing individuals. Initially, we were nervous and clueless about how face-to-face interviews with our Expert User would go. Not to lie, the first couple of mins were difficult for us. However, this difficulty made us realize the sole purpose of the project.
Grudges between teammates
As it was a collaborative project, every member was inclined to work towards their own ideas. However, later people lost interest in working as their ideas were not part of the project. The grudges were understandable but when it started getting reflected on our work, I had to take the lead of the project and work management.
This did increase my workload drastically as I had to analyze each teammate's forte and allot work among them, managing the meetings, staying on track with the deadlines, and formulate the flow of the documentation and the entire project itself. Though it was hectic and overwhelming, I realized how leadership works.
User-Centric Design Methods
Understand and feel from the users perspective
Evaluating the strength of the ideas by gaining feedback from users
Formulating solutions that would solve users' problem
Manifesting ideas into reality in order for users to interact with them
We interviewed the Expert User to understand the issues faced by our target audience on daily basis. The information gained from this step helped us set the direction of our solution.
We realized that there were some key points we need to focus on when designing a solution
Based on the insights gained from user research, we focused on a couple of points to keep in mind while designing the solution
Key points to focus on for solution design
Lightweight, portable, and slick
Quick, easy, and accurate
Accessible to all
Does not look awkward
We brainstormed ideas that could help us design a solution that best fits our users' needs.
After diverging and converging, we finally selected the top 3 ideas. Amongst which the expert user had to select only one that would fit all our criteria.
Top 3 ideas
Once the design was finalized, we moved forward to design the prototype. We first created a paper prototype and followed after that was low fidelity and then high fidelity prototypes were created.
We first tested our paper prototype with our expert users. After test evaluation and design iteration, we design low fidelity and high fidelity prototype.
Testing Paper Prototype
Persona development helps us conceptualize our target audience in a better way by helping us understand our lifestyle, pain points, and what they look for in a feasible solution.