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Social App Accessibility for Deaf Signers

Kelly Mack, Danielle Bragg, Meredith Ringel Morris, Maarten W. Bos, Isabelle Albi, Andrés Monroy-Hernández
EventCSCW 2020
Research AreasComputational Social Science, Human Computer Interaction

Social media platforms support the sharing of written text, video, and audio. All of these formats may be inaccessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH), particularly those who primarily communicate via sign language, people who we call Deaf signers. We study how Deaf signers engage with social platforms, focusing on how they share content and the barriers they face. We employ a mixed-methods approach involving seven in-depth interviews and a survey of a larger population (n = 60). We find that Deaf signers share the most in written English, despite their desire to share in sign language. We further identify key areas of difficulty in consuming content (e.g., lack of captions for spoken content in videos) and producing content (e.g., captioning signed videos, signing into a phone camera) on social media platforms. Our results both provide novel insights into social media use by Deaf signers and reinforce prior findings on DHH communication more generally, while revealing potential ways to make social media platforms more accessible to Deaf signers.

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