Go Google Map Filter

This project applied an Inclusive Design approach. The research took place thanks to the collaboration of the no-profit association No Barriere alla Comunicazione, situated in Milan, and addressing people affected by hearing-impairment. The work aims at responding to the needs of a group of people less represented in our society while trying to extend the benefits to a larger audience, respecting the principles of Inclusive Design.
What

Inclusive Design

When

2019

Context

"Inclusive Design" course at Politecnico di Milano

Team

International team of designers

My role

User research and design

User research

Through the help of an interpreter, the team performed group interviews with the association “No Barriere all Comunicazione”. Here many people affected by hearing-impairment can participate in activities, often focused on reading news and information from the world, getting support for the daily challenges, and meet each other to form a community. From the interaction, it emerged that these people are often unable to read and understand any input from the outside, except for sign language. The result is that they do not feel capable to move to any area of the city where they have not been already with someone they know. Their autonomy is, therefore, deeply undermined.

Personas

A first persona is identified with a hearing-impaired foreigner living in Italy. In accordance with the Inclusive Design principles, their difficulty is compared to more common situations in an additional persona: a foreigner who does not speak Italian nor know the city.

Insights in the user’s psychology

From the interviews, a set of insights is extracted. These are not implemented passively. Instead, the designer must actively empathise with the user and interpret their needs.

Storyboard

As there was no navigation app responding to their necessities, we designed GoApp, a Google Maps filter which leverages the online community to create video directions. The mobile environment is free of references to local customs or languages, replicating and fostering human contact between users instead. A storyboard describes the experience.

Wrap-up

This project touched some of my deepest strings. I have started reflecting on how our world is designed through processes and standards which can exacerbate differences and divide people. Inclusive design is a fascinating field, firstly for the design of solutions with a virtuous impact on the community, but also as a means of inspiration to go beyond our privileged understanding of the world. Our work was graded positively in the classroom and appreciated by the community of No Barriere alla Comunicazione.