How might we reduce the communication barriers for deaf relying on sign languages alone at drive-through restaurants?


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Sep 13, 2022
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Hi, I’m Karishma Pawar, a grad student at Thomas Jefferson University studying User Experience and Interaction Design, in Philadelphia, USA. I am working on a thesis project aiming “How might we reduce the communication barriers for deaf relying on sign languages alone at drive-through restaurants?"

All I am aiming for is to make the drive-through experience more inclusive. Please leave a comment below saying "Yes" if you can connect for a short 20 min interview.
I am looking forward to connecting with you.
As a recently deaf patron, I rely heavily on sign and reading lips. Most establishments do not sign at all. I feel like every establishment should at least have someone that takes a general signing course, even if it is just one person per shift or management. Just like the way everyone that works at a daycare has to know CPR. I feel like inclusivity needs to start at establishing a knowledgeable staff. Do you have to know everything in ASL, not at all, but basic ordering essentials for the business I think is necessary.

Also, not sure why this isn't established at drive through establishments,, but caption devices on registers. Or even those erasable tablets to converse with customers. As a person at a workplace with NO deaf resources, reading lips can be mentally draining.

My two cents anyway. I hope you come up with some great resources :)

It's a tough question to answer... The world in general is hearing obviously, and the hearing just don't get it. You can't blame them for it, it's just the way the world works. Because of this though, the hearing are very ignorant to anything deaf related. The sentence "If youre going to live in the USA you should learn to speak English (to people from south america, or where ever) seems to be a good example of what is expected generally, but deaf people can't really do that. It's a poor way of thinking, but people just expect you to conform to the norm unfortunately :/ It would be cool, and I have seen places with signers at the window, but these places are usually staffed by high school kids making almost no money. Places like this wouldn't pay to have someone to learn anything I expect with few exceptions.

I've never thought about it before now unfortunately.... Hmmm.... Since the speaker can't be used obviously, a sign at the speaker indicating to pull around if you have any issues speaking or hearing, then maybe a tablet that can be passed back and forth for typing at the window? I mean short of having the random person who knows Sign or wants to learn it...