🚀 BrickTalk: a real-time communication tool between hearing people and DHH people
to design an app which would be a potential solution for real-time communication between hearing people and Deaf and Hard of Hearing(DHH) people.
Brick Sauce Team Members
Ruiwen Fan, Sarah Hedrych, Pritish Sai Kannan
September- December 2018



It is hard for hearing people who do not know ASL to communicate with deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) people without the use of an interpreter.


to design a potential solution to enable and enhance the real time communication in both daily life and professional environments between hearing and DHH people while maintaining efficiency and accuracy, as well as promoting a good user experience.


Both hearing people and DHH people, as well as the interpreters.


  • External/background research
  • Semi-Structured Interviews with expert users
  • Brainstorming and Ideation
  • Personas, Conceptual Models and Use cases

External/Background Research

Although some tools exist to automatically capture speech and make the text available later, research suggests that the design of these technologies — such as available customization options — may impact how DHH and hearing people communicate in real time. Your solution will harness automatic speech-to-text, vibro-tactile, and other technical capabilities to enable fluid, real-time communication between DHH and hearing individuals on one or more mobile devices.Effective solutions will enhance communication particularly in professional environments where DHH individuals work with hearing counterparts.

First Interview with the Expert User

Who are expert users?
Expert users are DHH students in RIT, who always give us valuable feedback.


Janetta comes from a small town in Tennessee. She is deaf and nonverbal, so she relies on a hired interpreter to help her communicate with her team at TechDojo, her small startup. Janetta has excellent communication skills, but relies heavily on her interpreter and wishes she had a solution that wasn’t dependent on another human being when one wasn’t available. Janetta would prefer to be able to talk to others on the fly, using whatever means possible.
Basic Info
Age: 27
Gender: Female
Education: MBA
Ethnicity: Black
Language: ASL (fluent), written English (proficient)
Occupation: CEO at tech startup
Experience: Accounting internship, freelance software development
Skills: Leadership, analytical skills, interpersonal skills, business administration, programming, system administration
When: While interacting with her team (business hours)
Where: At her small office in Seattle, WA
How: Janetta would like to be able to simply hit a button and be able to communicate seamlessly with her hearing employees
Goals: Grow her business
Roles: Friend, daughter, sister
Purpose: Become a respected leader in the tech industry, one day inspire young deaf women of color to reach for their dreams
Expectations: An impending contract with Amazon, networking with other tech leaders and deaf professionals
Attitude: Ambitious, enthusiastic, and encouraging sum up Janetta’s personality
Response to pressure: Janetta is cool in the face of pressure, and her determination allows her to harness stress in positive ways
Timid/aggressive: Janetta is an interpersonal force to be reckoned with, but she is pleasant enough to be approachable
Error phobic/error tolerant: Janetta sees every error or blunder as a lesson and an opportunity to improve, so she welcomes errors

Conceptual Model