WPI - Computer Science Department, PhD Defense Shruti Mahajan ",Creating Signed Language Resources to Increase Access and Representation of the Deaf Community and Advance SL-centered Research"

Tuesday, April 16, 2024
12:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Shruti Mahajan 

PhD Candidate 

WPI– Computer Science Department 

Date: Tuesday, April 16, 2024 

Time: 12:00 p.m.  to 2: 00 p.m. 

Location: Salisbury Labs (SL) 411 - Classroom 

PhD Advisor: Prof Erin Solovey

Committee Members: Prof Gillian Smith, Prof Lane Harrison 

External Committee Member: Jeanne Reis, from The American Signed Language Educational Center 



Creating high-quality resources that are easily accessible in Signed Languages (SL) is important and valuable to the Deaf community. This is because (SL) around the world are highly culturally significant for the community. In and around the US, many members of the Deaf community consider their SL as their primary language. It is well known that being able to interact in first or primary language leads to more understanding and empowerment. However, members of the Deaf community have to interact with computing tools are presented and navigated exclusively in English, even those designed for Deaf audiences. It is necessary to accommodate SL in websites as it has important access implications in many domains, such as education, support for workers and employees, online-community platforms or social media and news. 

By promoting the widespread use and availability of well-designed SL resources, we aim to support increased access and representation of SL online materials for members of the Deaf community. As part of this research, we developed an SL-centric survey tool that would enable users to create surveys in SL. We focused on creating and designing elements that can help users navigate resources intuitively without relying on English. Additionally, to create intuitive resources in SL, participation of members of the Deaf community is imperative. In the field of Human-Computer Interaction and User Experience, and particularly in user-centered methodology, understanding and incorporating the needs, preferences, and experiences of end users throughout the development process is necessary. This is often achieved through user studies and testing.  This research also contributes to cultivating access to collaborative human-centered methods and research by creating a guidelines for conducting HCI research in SL.



Computer Science