User testing with deaf and hearing impaired individuals

This month, I was fortunate enough to work with the National Relay Service (NRS) on a prototype of their new mobile application. The NRS is an Australian-wide telephone service for people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment.

One example is the video relay service that allows culturally deaf people to use their own language – Auslan (Australian Sign Language) – to make a call to a hearing person.

Screenshot 2014-07-25 11.57.59

Talking to people is what I enjoy most about my job. However, getting the opportunity to talk with people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment was a real highlight. I was fascinated watching these individuals and interpreters communicate in sign language. I even learnt a bit of Auslan myself.

It inspires me to see and hear how these people navigate the world. Things we take for granted – booking a hair appointment, calling the bank, organising a taxi – takes considerable planning by the individual. It was amazing to work with the NRS team to build a mobile app that gives NRS customers the opportunity to communicate in ways we take for granted.

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