7 Replies Latest reply: Mar 2, 2010 2:59 PM by flurffmeister
flurffmeister Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
What can a deaf user do to make the iPhone more usable? What could Apple do to make it more usable for the deaf? Would they, considering they've done so for the blind?

These are a few questions on my mind lately. I have a deaf friend who currently uses a Sidekick LX, and while she hates it and wants to move to an iPhone, there are a few things about the Sidekick that I notice that are more useful than an iPhone would be in its current state. The most notable being a much stronger vibrate, more noticeable vibrate pattern, and LEDs on the outside that can be set up to flash various colors when a message is received. Additionally, there's a reminder light that continues to flash after the message is received. When compared to an iPhone, there really is no contest. The iPhone vibrate is hardly noticeable, and of course the only light on the iPhone is the screen. The lack of a persistent reminder (that 2-repeat buzzer doesn't even do it for me) makes it easy to miss if you're not like me and constantly glued to the iPhone screen.

I think there should be a few things that help everyone notice a message or other such event from their iPhone. While they'd be especially useful for the deaf, I find myself longing for them all the same despite hearing just fine.

1. External lights. They don't have to be extreme, maybe if the next iPhone gets a flash, that can be the light for the back, and then the home button could get a light hidden underneath it.

2. Stronger vibrate motor. Nothing to it, really, just make a tiny earthquake in your pants so you can actually notice it going off even at the end of the world when everything's falling apart.

3. More configurability for notifications. Like I said, that simple 2-repeat buzzer for the texts just doesn't cut it for me, let alone for somebody who can't hear to begin with. Something like being able to set a unique vibrate/flash/tone/repeat pattern. Even a Blackberry can do more than just set a tone. Granted, on a Blackberry, there's 6 menus you gotta dig through, then you gotta do a rain dance, make a human sacrifice, and then give up your firstborn to change the setting. :P

Anybody know of plans to make the iPhone a more attractive option for the deaf, or of any third party solutions that correct any of the shortcomings? I've already sent Apple this feedback directly, but I'm not sure if they're really reading it or even if it's too late in this generation's development cycle to make any changes.

Seems thus far neither AT&T nor Apple have put much thought into it, as to get an iPhone for a deaf user, you first have to jump through the regular iPhone activation hoops and then call (or write? :P) to get set up on the data-only plan.

iPhone 3GS 32gb White, iPhone OS 3.1.3