While communication via telephone was made possible through relay services, and the first generations of mobile phones enabled communication via text messages, the advent of video telephony revolutionised telecommunications for sign language users. It is amazing to see how skilful sign language users minimise their gestures to fit the small screen and in which speed they communicate.
Smartphones furthermore now offer a panoply of apps that range from sign language dictionaries to sign language study apps and access to content in sign language. Then there are the instantaneous sign language interpretation services that allow us to include a sign language interpreter in the telephone communication and enables communication between deaf and hearing people.
Seen all together, these developments, suggest that we have come a long way for making telecommunications more usable for deaf and hard of hearing persons, however there is still much to do.
Here at the GARI project, we are also very interested to learn how deaf and hard of hearing utilise mobile phones in every day life. Particularly what features or apps are most important for you. So if you are deaf and would like to share your story, please get in touch!