Signed With Love

Category

UI/UX, Mobile app

Year

2019

Role

User research, wireframes, prototyping, illustration, animation.

Project type

Individual project (passion project)

Signed With Love is an app that teaches new parents of deaf children ASL (American Sign Language) and helps them teach it to their children. This is a passion project that I decided to further develop in my senior Thesis. 

 

As someone currently studying ASL, I wanted to design a resource that would help facilitate the ASL learning experience; through my research, I realized that there is a lack of educational and support resources for parents of deaf children. Having a deaf child can be daunting, especially if that child is the first deaf person you know.

Problem

1-1. User Interviews

I interviewed several parents of deaf children through a Facebook page, and here are some of the things they said.

Through these interviews and research, I found that:

  • ASL textbooks display static illustrations, which can be confusing in comprehending a sign’s motion.

  • YouTube ASL tutorials lack a structured learning experience/curriculum.

  • There is a lack of resources that adequately help a parent learn ASL at home. 

  • Although a parent may succeed in learning ASL, they may not know how to properly teach it to their baby as they grow up.

Process

2-1. Iteration #1

Learning ASL through a curriculum of levels with individual video screens for each word and a quiz at the end.

2-2. Iteration #2 

Added a “favorite words” and “save to learn later” feature where users can bookmark selected words.

2-3. Iteration #3

Interviewed a Special Education teacher that works with deaf children. Added a customizable learning plan when the user signs up, tailored to how old the child currently is so the parent can learn words in the order of that child's age learns.

2-4. Flow Map

I created a user task flow map that outlines the user's main goal.

2-5. Lo-fi Wireframes

2-6. Hi-fi Wireframes

Solution

3-1. Design

3-2. Clickable Prototype

3-3. Iteration 1 based on user testing & feedback

Added an Index to the menu. This allows users to look up a word and view its sign page instead of going through all the levels to find it.

3-4. Iteration 2 based on user testing & feedback

Added a playback speed button. This allows users to slow down the speed of the signed video if it is too fast to learn.

3-5. Responsive designs

Tablet Size (iPad) and Android-style interface (Google Pixel)

Insights & Takeaways

- I'm glad I interviewed people who work directly with the target audience I was creating the app for. If I didn’t interview the special ed teachers that work with deaf children, I wouldn’t have realized the importance of creating a learning plan customizable to the age of the child. As an ASL student myself, I assumed that a universal textbook structure would work well for all parents of deaf children. 

- Tweaking the visual design of the app (e.g. adding illustrations) may seem like an aesthetic choice, but it made a huge difference in evoking a comforting and parent-friendly atmosphere for the app’s target audience.

- A lot of user feedback said that they enjoyed how comforting and reassuring the app's language was. I think sympathizing with these parents helped me write content that contributed to this design decision.