This mobile app aims to bring Sign Language as close as possible to people, and, eventually, help turn this type of language into a daily form of communicacion.
Sign Language is something that remains hidden for most of us. We don’t think so much about this handicap which is a reality for about 72 Million people.
We all know that languages are essential for job promotions, the exchange of points of view within an international community, or to travel without limits, but what about this other kind of communication? Is it only a problem for those who have to deal with this issue in their daily lives? What would happen if all of us could come closer to this reality, empathize and be able to communicate with this huge part of the population?
Maybe if make an effort to learn this way of communication or at least basic skills, in order to be able to integrate this group of people into our world, we would discover a wide range of new approaches to many different fields and probable a different understanding of life itself.
1. Difficult goal to achieve
2. Many factors are involved
3. Still not a very popular topic
4. Difficult to communicate with part or the stakeholders
Analysis and User Research
There are already many applications such a «Duolingo» or «Babel» that help people learn new languages. They offer many possibilities and even languages that are not that spoken. But none of them integrate sign languages. There are about 200 different types of sign languages and of course, not all of them are spoken by many people. As in verbal-speaking language happens, English is preferred for international communication and it seems interesting to create a space where this language can be easily learned and thus make a step forward and give people a real tool to achieve full social integration.
After observing how these other Apps work, like Duolingo, I think the same system could be implemented and the same flow within the features of the app could be also repeated. The result could be very familiar to people who already use this type of App.
People who may be most interested in this product are those who have whether family or friends using sign language. All of them assure that basic knowledge from childhood would have been very useful in their life as adults.
On the other hand, after a bit of research, I observed that there is a general interest in how this type of language works, not only regarding communication but also social inclusion, especially within the young population.
Ideation and Prototyping
Once the target group was defined and the idea was clearer I started to think about how the final App would look like. I made a few sketches and wireframes and lists of possible features that could be used.
I also tested few times the architecture of the information with various prospective users. A card sorting was also used as a tool to achieve this goal.
After few iterations, the final product started to become real and have its own identity.
The final app was very similar to other apps like «Duolingo» but with specific features to approach sign languages.
There is a 3D avatar that will translate into sign language what users want to say by typing text or dictating to the microphone. These words will be eventually translated into movements made by the avatar.
The infrared camera can capture the movements done by people speaking in sign language, delivering a text message or audio record to the user in real-time.
Other features are aimed at the learning part. We can find among others a dictionary to look for the most common words in that type of sign language, ASL, for example, an interactive method of learning where the user can gather points while improving his/her level on the language and a personal profile where the user can find challenges, scores, and other options to improve their skills.
– Name and logo: Clear message. Easy to retain.
– Background color: White / black – light or dark mode. – White is preferred by many users but dark is preferred by the young population. – Blue #407CF3 – Transmits a feeling of cleanliness and comfort inviting interaction.
– Font family: Raleway. Sans serif typography with personality. Not a very «serious» typography.
– Navigation menu: Three icons to facilitate the interaction within the app. The intention is to keep it minimal and clean.
The process of creating this app has given me a wider perspective regarding what can be done to improve integration in our society. There are many social groups that conform large part of the population and do not have the same possibilities as we do. Investing in bridging technology is a win-win.
During the process, I understood how important is education in our childhood. The importance of giving children basic tools to behave within the society is key and not always we adults focus on what is really important. Communication should be a basic thing to learn but not always in the way we do, grammar, syntax, and so on. How we communicate and different resources to do it with distinct people is also very important and technology can give us a hand to do it.