Jellow Communicator is an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) solution that uses icons to aid communication in people learning to speak or with difficulty with speech and language.
In 2016, as the lead designer of the team, I was involved in the product development process. My role included the creation of a visual and interaction system for the product along with creating user interfaces and transitions. Along with my team, I also carried out user testings and workshops in different parts of India to create iterations based on the collected data.
Many autistic individuals have some difficulties with or delays in communication and speech. It can interfere with a person's ability to say what they want correctly. It may also be because they have not developed verbal communication skills.
Jellow's user-friendly interface along with its graphic icons and vocabulary was designed iteratively following an iterative design process across a period of several years. It is based on regular feedback from users namely children, parents, therapists, teachers, and caregivers. Substantiated through Research by doing 6 months long longitudinal studies with autistic children at Nair Hospital and the University of Connecticut.
The creation of a low and high-tech system enables support to children from an early age. Thus the product grows as the child grows.
Creation of low and high tech solutions
The need to develop a complete communication system conceived across the technology spectrum in the following variations to cater to the needs of a child with a varying range of abilities. In the form of:
Complete personal communication system
Imparting holistic education through the usage of technology
Exploration of ideas and concepts
Personalize speech and voice settings to suit the needs of different users
Enable flexibility in displaying icons to avoid sensory overload
Create universal search across the product to access any icons at the tap of a button
Cater to different languages inside the product
How we might
Turning concepts into UX solutions
There were a few rounds of brainstorming to merge many useful ideas into concepts and in turn deliver an improved user experience. The third round also involved the engineers to understand how some of the ideas would work with the existing product.
After the solutions and assumptions were validated, the user flows and visual designs for the search feature, speech settings, and icon grid feature were created and tested for iterations.
Flexibility with number of icons on screen to avoid sensory overload
Allowing flexibility with the number of icons helps to assist a wide range of children with different ranges of development. Younger children may find nine or even six icons overloading for them. Therefore personalizing plays a key role to meet the users needs.
Enabling search throughout the product
The universal search button enables finding the icon of choice at a click away. The search button also displays breadcrumbs of where a particular icon might be placed.
Eg: Yellow = Learning > Colour
Personalisation through speech settings, languages and display modes
Offering flexibility with speech speed and voice pitch expands the availability of the product to users with additional hearing support.
Enabling picture and text or only picture mode further equips users to personalize their experience.
Speech development for more than 10k+ users
Jellow has received feedback from therapists, clinicians, and caregivers around different parts of India stating how the product helped towards the development of communication between the children and their caregivers.
Personalization of the product enabled the product to reach a broader category of users with additional impairments along with speech.
Each user was able to personalize the communicator based on their needs and requirements.
Impact after the release
Extended reach for different types of users
Engineers: Rahul Jidge, Sumeet Agrawal, Aastha Joshi, Roopa Narayan Sahoo, Shruti Gupta
Product Design: Prof. Ravi Poovaiah, Dr. Sudha Srinivasan, Anisha Malhotra
Research: Dr Sudha Srinivasan, Sachin Sonawane
National Award (India)
Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities | 2018
mBillionth South Asia Award
Inclusion and Empowerment | 2018
UNICEF Innovation Fund
Development an open source application to support children with speech impairment | 2017
Microsoft Equal Opportunity Awards
Innovations to Aid Persons with Disabilities through Technology | 2017