Assistive technology concept for hearing impaired

Basic project info

In three major design iterations, we designed a concept for a tablet app and a novel wearable device for the hearing impaired that takes advantage of advancements in speech-to-text technology and flexible displays.

My role User Researcher, Product Designer
Platform Tablet app, Wearable
Industry Assistive technology
Period Oct 2016 – Dec 2016
Contract Academic assignment


This project took place over a period of two months as part of the Interaction Design module that I completed as part of the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Master’s program at University College London.

UCL Interaction Centre that delivers the HCI program is a world leading Centre of Excellence in Human-Computer Interaction.

The Challenge

The CHI 2017 student design competition invited students to think about people for whom the rapid advances in technology have not yet brought the same benefits and opportunities that the majority population has been enjoying. Students were challenged to think about groups of people who were left behind and to design a technology intervention that would “level the playing field”.

Our group focused on people with hearing impairment.

ACM CHI 2017

The Team & My Role

This was a group project with flat management structure. My group was composed of five students with various backgrounds – psychology, computer science, anthropology or process engineering.

I contributed to most activities we conducted and which are discussed below.

Target Audience

People affected by hearing impairment (Little d group)  not suffering from a complete hearing loss.

There are an estimated 11 million people in the UK and 37 million people in the US living with some form of hearing loss. Often hidden from view, hearing loss has a significant impact on daily life. It leaves those affected with feelings of shame, embarrassment and can lead to social exclusion.

Process, methods & tools

We worked on our ideas, suggestions, and research individually and met several times a week to work on the project as a group. We used Trello and Slack to set tasks and communicate effectively.

Process & Methods

Below is a list of activities that I conducted myself or contributed to:


  • Exploratory interviews with subject-matter experts
  • Literature review
  • Affinity diagramming + dot voting
  • Creating a research plan
  • Online questionnaire
  • Forum & Social media exploration
  • Persona development
  • Using empathy tool

Affinity diagrammingPersona: Hearing impaired studentPersona: Hearing impaired teacher


  • Storyboards & scenarios
  • Rapid sketches
  • Paper prototypes
  • Wizard of Oz
  • Wireframing
  • 3D modelling (mid & hi-fidelity)
  • Co-creation workshop
  • Video presentation + Audio recording and editing

Co-creation workshopApp wireframeWearable concept testingStoryboardApp paper prototypeHearMore: Wristband conceptHearMore Ecosystem Concept: Microphone, Wristband, App


  • Usability testing
  • In-depth semi-structured interviews
  • Proof of concept testing

Usability testingProof of concept testing: Real-time speech-to-text

Tools I used

  • Pencil and paper
  • Axure
  • Cinema 4D
  • Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator

Project portfolio

Each team member had to develop their own individual project portfolio and specify their individual contributions. Below is my project portfolio.

HearMore portfolio page: 1/12 HearMore portfolio page: 2/12 HearMore portfolio page: 3/12 HearMore portfolio page: 4/12 HearMore portfolio page: 5/12 HearMore portfolio page: 6/12 HearMore portfolio page: 7/12 HearMore portfolio page: 8/12 HearMore portfolio page: 9/12 HearMore portfolio page: 10/12 HearMore portfolio page: 11/12 HearMore portfolio page: 12/12

Project video

All team members were involved in the video production. I developed all the product 3D animations, recorded and edited the voiceover, and partly edited the video.

Project Paper

If you are interested in learning more about the project, below is a paper our team wrote (unpublished). I was only partially involved as at the same time we were writing it I was working on the HearMore 3D renderings and animations.

Project poster

As part of the project submission, we also had to develop a presentation poster. I designed the project poster below.

HearMore: Project Poster

Lessons learnt

  • I managed to learn basic 3D modelling and animation in a few days
  • Managing a team with a flat structure (not having an assigned leader) was very challenging – for future such projects I'd suggest taking turns in leading
  • It was a very valuable experience in regard to understanding the challenges related to designing assistive technologies and accessible products