Sign language is the main form of communication for over 70 million people. In some countries, as many as 80% of deaf or hearing impaired children don’t have access to formal education. For those that can read, written language requires extra effort to comprehend.
Faith Comes By Hearing’s mission is to make scripture available to people around the globe in every language. Of the 70 million deaf around the world, only 2% have ever been exposed to scripture. This was a problem ripe for innovative solutions
We designed and developed a scalable solution specifically tailored to the needs of users who are deaf or hearing impaired. Using hands-on research and rapid prototyping we were able to quickly come up with a validated solution to a difficult problem.
At CauseLabs, we believe in solving problems for people – we believe that as you go through the process of getting to know your audience, the right solution will present itself along the way. For this project, that meant working hand in hand with leaders of the Deaf Community to build empathy for our users.
Our goal at the outset of the project was to equip ourselves with enough information about our users to create personas. We would use these personas as a litmus test for any idea that was generated during the next part of the process, prototyping solutions.
Empathy held firmly in hand, we put our creative muscles to use. Our goal was to visualize concepts in many different forms to test our understandings of valid and invalid solutions. We iterated on concepts until we reached a point where we felt there were a healthy variety of ideas to test. It was only after we sat down with real end-users to explore prototypes that we were able to identify a critical flaw in our initial approach: Relying on text to communicate anything in the application was too presumptive, as navigating large amounts of scripture via text made it difficult for the users to find anything they might be looking for. We also discovered that deaf users preferred using their devices in landscape orientation, a small but important detail that would never had surfaced if not for connecting with our end-users. Back to the drawing board for more iteration!
A few more rounds of feedback guided us to a simple, innovative video-based navigation that allowed users to fully understand what they were seeing. Deaf and hearing impaired users were able to preview the content of any given passage of scripture through sign language interpreters that introduced each section of scripture.
After validating that we were on the right track with the design, we added the final polish to the app’s user interfaces. The results are an app with a 4.5 star rating on iOS and Android stores and a community of deaf and hearing impaired users around the world who can appreciate a truly intuitive user experience