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Mobile app communication aid for Cypriot deaf people

Pieri, Katerina; Cobb, Sue Valerie Gray


Katerina Pieri

Associate Professor


© 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: People with severe or profound hearing loss face daily communication problems mainly due to the language barrier between themselves and the hearing community. Their hearing deficiency, as well as their use of sign language, often makes it difficult for them to use and understand spoken language. Cyprus is amongst the top 5 European countries with a relatively high proportion of registered deaf people (0.12 per cent of the population: GUL, 2010). However, lack of technological and financial support to the Deaf Community of Cyprus leaves the Cypriot deaf people unsupported and marginalised. The paper aims to discuss this issue. Design/methodology/approach: This study implemented user-centred design methods to explore the communication needs and requirements of Cypriot deaf people and develop a functional prototype of a mobile app to help them to communicate more effectively with hearing people. A total of 76 deaf adults were involved in various stages of the research. This paper presents the participatory design activities (N=8) and results of usability testing (N=8). Findings: The study found that users were completely satisfied with the mobile app and, in particular, they liked the use of Cypriot Sign Language (CSL) videos of a real person interpreting hearing people’s speech in real time and the custom onscreen keyboard to allow faster selection of text input. Originality/value: Despite advances in communication aid technologies, there is currently no technology available that supports CSL or real-time speech to sign language conversion for the deaf people of Cyprus.


Pieri, K., & Cobb, S. V. G. (2019). Mobile app communication aid for Cypriot deaf people. Journal of Enabling Technologies, 13(2), 70-81.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 19, 2019
Online Publication Date Jul 19, 2019
Publication Date Jun 17, 2019
Deposit Date Jul 24, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jul 24, 2019
Journal Journal of Enabling Technologies
Print ISSN 2398-6263
Electronic ISSN 2398-6263
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 2
Pages 70-81
Public URL
Publisher URL


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