Amplifying ASL: Designing with Futuring and Inclusion

2019-02-26T19:27:32Z (GMT) by Mackenzie Cherban
This Master’s thesis project studies the intersection of design and technology in its relation to those who are d/Deaf in a way that is both evaluative and critical. This was done in order to better understand the gaps that currently exist, both within projects and products as well as design processes. Design research, futuring, and technical explorations were used to better investigate this intersection. Through reviewing literature and existing precedents, there appear to be two major roles of products, correction or connection. A series of interviews with both deaf and non-deaf were conducted to understand the perspectives of both parties in order to better situate the approach taken throughout this project. A futuring workshop was used for creating and imagining new futures from the perspective of those within and closest to the Deaf community.

A handful of technical explorations were conducted using current technologies as to
better comprehend their capabilities. Ultimately, these explorations were used to reframe current trends in technology and create artifacts from the participants’ futures. This project aims to raise more questions than necessarily propose solutions. It aims to provide a sort of case study and framework that can be used to question, or incorporate into, a designer’s process. This study has researched and implemented several design processes including participatory design, futuring, speculative design, and inclusive design. As a result, this project proposes that the evolving and growing design practice of inclusive design begin to embrace futuring as a valuable aspect of the process.