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Re-imagining deafness as a resource for design

: Matiouk, S.

Mayr, Heinrich C. (Hrsg.) ; Gesellschaft für Informatik -GI-, Bonn:
Informatik 2016. Informatik von Menschen für Menschen : 46. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Informatik, 26. - 30. September 2016; Klagenfurt, Österreich; CD-ROM
Bonn: Gesellschaft für Informatik, 2016 (GI-Edition : Proceedings 259)
ISBN: 978-3-88579-653-4
Gesellschaft für Informatik (Jahrestagung) <46, 2016, Klagenfurt>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer FIT ()

This contribution sets out the necessity to re-imagine the notion of deafness in order to open up the potentials of this multifaceted cultural and linguistic phenomenon for technology design. The paper challenges common normative assumptions about deafness that are derived from some audiometric hearing "norm" and therefore bound our imagination by drawing attention to inabilities, difficulties and deficiencies. Based on a literature review of cognitive studies and long-term fieldwork, a variety of benefits arising from deafness and use of sign language are discussed. As a result of this discussion I propose considering signing deaf individuals as experts in visual, spatial and embodied matters. I argue, therefore, that this perspective is especially beneficial for designing innovative technologies and thinking out of the box. To exemplify this statement a couple of concepts for inspiration that emerged from five design and development projects are depicted. I call these concepts inspiration rooms.