Virror - improving disabilities' living space through residential assistive technology. 

my role: ui/ux designer 

timeline: 5 months 


"How might we improve the communication between a D/deaf or hard of hearing

person (DHH) living with a hearing person through residential assistive technology?"

Design Question





We interviewed Professor Lance, the director of the ASL program at UW, to sketch out his floor place. We also look into DeafSpace Design guideline, published by Gallaudet University. After having basic background research, we interview user J and her roommate to hear from two perspectives on how communication take place in a house setting. 
Synthesizing Research
We synthesized our research by finding key takeaways and patterns. While we approached this with the mindset of designing in a housing space, it was important to take note of the challenges they faced socially, which were brought up frequently as well. 
- soical perception
- public awareness 
- education opportunity
- lack of understanding   
- receiving less information
- struggling in a big group discussion
- inaccessible technology 
- different levels of exptectation
housing space
-  hard to get people's attention
- living in a bigger space but not enough open space 
- someone comes to the door 
- different room or space communication issue 
- whiteboard
- mirror 
- color-coded kettle 
- flashing lights doorbell 
- vibrating alarm
- basic ASL 
What We Find
to visualize the layout of the living space with regards to where other people are. 
- to be notified of the 
status of home appliances.
- to be notified in emergency situations.  
- to communicate with housemates in different rooms 
- to communicate effectively with hearing people who lack ASL knowledge. 



During brainstorming, we came up with ideas and categorized them based on other similar ideas. As we sorted through ideas, we consolidated some together, and marked ideas that we felt passionate and deemed most accessible and feasible. The biggest solutions included a visually focused game to promote inclusion, solutions that are centered on visual design, motion tracking, color-coded home systems, and those based on Deafspace guidelines. Even though we really like the card game idea, we decided to further develop the smart mirror idea because it's concrete. 

virror .png
virror 1.png
virror 3.png

Asking Why 
why mirror? 

Some users that we interviewed mentioned that they will install many mirrors at home to help them see someone from behind in the hallway. Also,  one of the important components of the DeafSapce guideline is that mirror creates more open spaces.

why mirror.png
why floorplan

One of the users mentioned that the first time that she did when she woke up is to check to Find My Friends app, just to see who is at home. Some other users will message the group chats to do that as well. It is am easier way for them to simply to see who is at home and on which floor.

why floorplan.png
why whiteboard?

For hard of hearing people, they will usually take out their c implant when they are at home. So if they are communicating with their roommates who are lack of ASL knowledge, it tends to be difficult. Whiteboard allows users to use handwriting to write on the mirror and also send it to different rooms. The mirror will blink if there is a notification, which is a visual clue to get people’s attention.

why whiteboard.png
why home appliances ?

The microsoware, the fan, the stove, and the oven are all sound-based appliances. Leading to users are not notified by the status of the house appliances, such as the leaking toilet and the kitchen fan. One user mentioned her friend has a kettle that changes color surrounding the temperature, the color-coded home appliance is something that is more accessible to them.

white home appliances .png

We then created high-fidelity prototypes and invited two of our initial interviewees and their roommates, along with two interpreters to our co-design workshop. Bringing our users in and designing with us allows us to have a chance to hear from two different perspectives. We want to make sure that our products are intuitive and useful for both sides. During the workshop, we first presented basic features and user flow, and then users have a chance to critique and make suggestions. We got a lot of useful feedback and insights into our product.

User Test 

We made some changes based on the valuable feedback that we got from the workshop. 


Showing the cooking timer on the homepage to remind users the status of the home appliances.

Changing the typing message to handwrite - because for D/deaf and hard of hearing person, they are used to using hand a lot. 

Also, one of the users has pet at home, and we added tracking pet in the floorplan feature. 

One user mentioned

the notification light

will change based on

the importance of the message and we also implemented that.


Please click to watch the video. 

Next Step 


It is our goal to make our process more user-centered design to make sure that we are designing with our users.



We would like to continue to test in order to gain feedback from our users and gain further insight into the problem space.



If we have a chance, we would like to implement our product in real life so that it could benefit the community more.

group photo.png

In this project, I learned about the importance of research. We emphasize the research because it helped us better involved in our users' community and think from our users' perspectives. Furthermore, it helped us revisit our design questions, and narrow down the problem statement to make the solution more concrete. The research process helped us to discover the actual problem, and build accessible and helpful design solutions for the users.