Towards Communication and Information Access for Deaf People


  • Edwin Blake
  • William Tucker
  • Meryl Glaser



Assistive Technology, Authoring Tools, Co-design, Health Care, Information and Communications Technology for Development, International Computer Drivers Licence, Mobile Computing, Pharmacy.


In tightly circumscribed communication situations an interactive system resident on a mobile device can assist Deaf people with their communication and information needs. The Deaf users considered here use South African Sign Language and information is conveyed by a collection of pre-recorded video clips and images. The system was developed according to our method of community-based co-design. We present several stages of the development as a series of case studies and highlight our experience. The first stage involved ethnographically inspired methods such as cultural probes. In the next stage we co-designed a medical consultation system that was ultimately dropped for technical reasons. A smaller system was developed for pharmaceutical dispensing and successfully implemented and tested. It now awaits deployment in an actual pharmacy. We also developed a preliminary authoring tool to tackle the problem of content generation for interactive computer literacy training. We are also working on another medical health information tool. We intend that a generic authoring tool be able to generate mobile applications for all of these scenarios. These mobile applications bridge communication gaps for Deaf people via accessible and affordable assistive technology.






Research Papers (general)