Inclusive access to emergency services: an action research project focused on hearing-impaired citizens
The general adoption of mobile devices and its wide network coverage made it possible to make emergency calls virtually everywhere, even in the absence of a valid contact. However, there is still generally the need for audio connection. This restriction is a problem for deaf people, but also for the elderly and people without disabilities who face sudden situations where speech is hard to articulate. In this context, this paper presents SOSPhone, a prototype of a mobile application that was developed to enable users to make emergency calls using an iconographic touch interface running in a touchscreen mobile device. The prototype implements the client-side of the application and was demonstrated and evaluated by a large number of users, including people without any disability, emergency services' professionals and deaf people. This paper describes the SOSPhone prototype and presents the results of the interface evaluation process, which is important to validate the main client-side interaction and architectural principles in order to proceed with the integration with each specific national emergency services' platform.