Drivey - A car assistive system for people with hearing loss Designer, Submitted for ACM CHI ACM CHI is one of the top conference for Human-Computer Interaction. This project submission was a part of the 4th year of the CHI Student Design Challenge. The theme was to “do good” using assistive technology.
Project Brief We chose our target audience as the people with severe or profound hearing loss, who cannot hear alerts or conversations even with hearing aids. Design Process We strictly followed a User Centric Design Process. User is the start pointing of all the design. User is the final datum of reference for all design decisions. User is the measure of all things. Existing Technology While technology in market consists of sound amplifying assistants, alert services, captioned multimedia, sign language recognition systems like MotionSavvy and IBM Signavatar, existing assistive technology for car mainly focus on adaptation to people with physical disabilities. Need Finding We interviewed five individuals with severe or profound hearing loss from United States, India and China. Our primary goal was to discover how they communicate with passengers while driving, how they get alert signals, how they deal with emergencies, and the other main problems that bother them while driving. Discovering Major Themes Based on the findings, we built an affinity wall to represent the major uses of our system, and scenarios to better focus the design on their needs. We organized our findings that revealed the major themes. Redefining the Design Brief To design a complete car assistive system for people with hearing loss with focus on these three features Low-Fi Prototyping We filtered our ideas and came up with interaction flows and user interface. We explored the technology to support our design concept. We conceptualized a car assistive system that consists of a communication control panel system with buttons on the steering wheel with a 7’’ screen on the dashboard. Additionally there are microphones located at each passenger's seat, and a few inner cameras to capture passenger’s sign language. We made an information architecture to map all our features. We sketched how we wanted our interface to turn out like. A few interaction flows were then decided. Design Validation The participants for the user testing consisted of people from the United States, China and India. We visited the Hearing Loss Association, Santa Barbara Chapter, presented our idea and it’s mockup in front of around 30 people at the age of 50+. Videos with the concept, interface and workflow with proper captioning was made and sent to potential users and experts for feedback. Final Proposed Design Solution Along with the communication control panel on the steering wheel and the 7’’ screen on the dashboard, the following features of Drivey aim to fulfill the gaps in car assistive technology and enrich the driving experience of people with hearing loss as it Reinforces Communication: by visualizing speech or sign language on the display, and allowing driver to respond from pre-set responses.Solution Unloads Working Memory : by visualizing traffic and alerts in real time Robust Emergency Call : with built-in GPS tracker, and quick contact to doctor, mechanics, family and friends User Feedback “I love this idea, the siren alert is especially helpful to me. Otherwise I have to keep looking around to see if there are any emergency vehicles.” -An old lady from US “The traffic map and visualization of car horns is brilliant. Traffic in my city is so crowded, this visualization is definitely helpful.” -An Indian girl in her 20s “I like the standpoint of a communication control panel system, and possibly steering wheel controls. Cell via Bluetooth, and possibly induction loop (via telecoil).” -A professor in audiology in US Conclusion Although Drivey tries to suggest a novel solution to the problems faced by drivers with profound/severe hearing loss, it still does not fulfills the criterion of being free of visual distractions. In hindsight, we should have explored technologies involving haptic feedback to address the above discussed problems. The user interface could also have been worked on further to free it from clutter and provide a better interaction flow. Meet the Team After a chance meeting on an online design forum, we ended up discussing this idea and started to work on it. It seemed challenging at first since we lived in different time zones and were pursuing full time academic courses. We worked according to our convenience and shared updates twice a day. Our multidisciplinary academic backgrounds and dynamic cultural differences helped us gain much needed insights for this project. We could pull this off as we shared common design ideologies, stuck to a strict timeline and have noteworthy organizational skills! :)
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