PLATFORM
3 weeks
Mobile, Watch
DURATION

A mobile alerting application
for the deaf & hard of hearing

LISNEN

A UX Design Project

A mobile application, a form of assistive technology, that aims to enhance the safety of its users, Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH), by detecting important environmental sounds as they occur, and alerting individuals through phone vibration and flashing light.

A Note To Self

Very often our clients come to us with amazing ideas that get us excited to a point where we forget to ask ourselves how much of it is actually possible, if at all. This is my journey through such an exciting project & a revelation at the end of it.

A GRIPPING IDEA

“ A mobile application that would alert users of surrounding sounds and help them instantly contact emergency services & their loved ones in case of emergency. ”

THE PROBLEM

During our first interview with the client, although we were excited that we were getting the opportunity to work on an exciting new idea, we were a little skeptical about its feasibility at first. During the interview, however, it was mentioned that ‘Lisnen’, in its development process, already had an edge over its competitors as it was utilizing deep learning algorithms that would increase the accuracy of its sound recognition ability and get better with time on its own. Knowing that the product actually worked, our excitement was through the roof!

KEY REQUIREMENTS

ALERTS

Alerts the users of specific sounds detected in the environment

CONTENT

If the user doesn’t responds, application automatically contacts the primary emergency contact

LAYOUT

In case of emergency, user can instantly seek help from 911 or their primary emergency contact

DESIGN

The application is always running in the background to detect sounds

ODD FINDINGS

We conducted user research through interviews & surveys to understand the needs of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Community. The results were surprising to us!

USER RESEARCH

Our client had shared with us a list of contacts to interview, people from the DHH community, who were already familiar with the idea of the Lisnen app. Most of the people we interviewed were above the age of forty-five.

INTERVIEWS

SURVEYS

We also wanted to talk to people  who were not familiar with the Lisnen application, as we wanted to remove any kind of possible bias linked with the application. We ran a survey on the online DHH community, most of whom were a younger audience, of course!

RESEARCH SUMMARY

Looking at the numbers & the limitations of available solutions, it was quite evident that Lisnen had a great chance of success if they could come up with a trustworthy & cheaper solution for the users. The biggest confidence booster is the percentage of people who have never used such a device / application but they are willing to adapt to a product that has the aforementioned features.

FINDING EMPATHY

Success for Lisnen was not just dependant on its functional accuracy but also on having an emotional connection to it’s user. We kept that connection in mind while figuring out the key features of the application:

USER FLOW

As per the client’s requirement, the application was based on a subscription model without any trial period. We were skeptical that this approach would result in a huge bounce-rate for the users from the very early stage. So, in the later stages of the project, after confirming our fears with the testing we gave users two options, subscribe right away or they could look around the application's features to gain some trust in it.

EMPATHY CONNECTION

Success for Lisnen was not just dependant on its functional accuracy but also on having an emotional connection to it’s user. We kept that connection in mind while figuring out the key features of the application:

TESTING & REVISIONS

After completing the first version of our wireframes we quickly turned it into an interactive prototype in InVision and started testing with our users, same ones that we had interviewed earlier. We went through an iterative process of testing & revisions until we were satisfied with the designs. Following is a brief of some of the more notable revisions:

911-A WISHFUL THINKING?

OUR SOLUTION
For the possible adverse consequences, for the safety of the users, we had no choice but to remove it completely.

PROBLEM
911 for DHH not available in every part of North America that made this feature unreliable and risky.

A MOCK TUTORIAL

OUR SOLUTION
We added a small interactive tutorial where the users could get a taste of the application by playing around with mic-sensitivity & watch its effects of sound wave.

PROBLEM
The subscription first model was off-putting a lot of our testers, but our client insisted on keeping the model.

BILLING ADJUSTMENTS

PROBLEM
Adding to the frustration of having to pay from the start, billing page was long & tidious.

OUR SOLUTION
We removed all unnecessary fields from billing to make it easier & quick. Softened the language, eg rewording “billing” to “subscribe” to make it friendly

PROFILES & SETTINGS

OUR SOLUTION
Since, the nature of the application did not demand a separate section for profile, we decided to merge the two pages into one settings page.

PROBLEM
Users were having difficulty differentiating between the content of two pages, jumping around both pages to find the dersired settings.

A LATE SETBACK

“ Throughout the course of the project, we had a fairly smooth ride all along, but just like a good movie plot, there has to be one last twist in the story, we had one too. ”

FINAL PROTOTYPE VIDEO

FINAL DESIGNS

FUTURE PROSPECTS

Despite the fact that removing features like 911 & iOS limitations on notifications marred the potential of the application to a great degree, we still believe that Lisnen has the ability to capture the market with the remaining features. We also believe that the rapid advancement in mobile phone technology and other smart devices would bring more power to solutions like Lisnen.

TAKEAWAY

The excitement to work on this interesting new product was so intimidating for us that we took every piece of pre-existing information for granted- which in this case was our limited knowledge of platform differences and realistic technology solutions, & never checked for validity, which almost cost us a failed product prototype. For me personally, the biggest takeaway from this project was that no matter how convincing our pre-existing knowledge is, as product creators, we have this responsibility to check every piece of information with utmost diligence to make sure that whatever we are creating is actually authentic & realistic.

jameelnasir@gmail.com