Mobile Communication Tools for a South African Deaf patient in a pharmacy context
Tucker, William David
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This paper presents a case for iterative community-based co-design to facilitate the emergence of an innovative mobile system to address a potentially life-threatening scenario for Deaf people in South Africa. For Deaf people that communicate in South African Sign Language, miscommunication due to language barriers, under-education, under-employment and physiological deafness can lead to a potentially dangerous therapeutic outcome when Deaf people potentially misunderstand a pharmacist's instructions on how to take prescribed medicine. The design for a mobile communication aid to address this problem emerged from iterative cycles of action research performed with a local Deaf community that also involved pharmacists and a multi-disciplinary research team. Conventional user-centred design techniques were innovatively appropriated for the community-based co-design. The paper illustrates the community-based co-design process and points the way toward imminent implementation, as well as the potential application of the mobile solution to other scenarios in Deaf people's lives.