WPI- Computer Science Department , PhD Proposal Defense Shruti Mahajan"Developing Sign Language First Technology through User-Centered Research for Deaf Users"

Wednesday, February 28, 2024
10:00 am to 11:00 am




Shruti Mahajan

PhD Candidate

WPI – Computer Science


Wednesday, February 28, 2024,

Time:  10:00 a.m  - 11:00 a.m.

Location: Fuller Labs 320


Advisor: Prof. Erin Solovey, WPI – Computer Science


Prof. Gillian Smith WPI– Computer Science

Prof. Lane Harrison WPI – Computer Science

Prof. Jeanne Reis – External Committee member





In the United States, American Sign Language (ASL) is the primary language of many deaf adults, and many deaf students receive classroom instruction in ASL while learning English as a second language. However, most interactive computing tools are presented and navigated exclusively in English, even those designed for deaf audiences. Making access to technology contingent upon a sufficient command of a second language creates significant barriers and access delays for deaf individuals.

Our research takes a human-centered computing approach to build a foundation that advances understanding of how deaf individuals could work and learn in environments that are designed with their needs and preferences at the forefront. It investigates the feasibility and effectiveness of new SL1 technology, which will provide delivery of signed language (SL) content by allowing deaf signers to navigate and interact with technology completely in their first language (L1). We developed an SL-

centric survey tool that enables users to create, distribute, and respond to surveys in SL. In our research, we conducted participatory and user-centric research with deaf participants to iteratively optimize user interface technology. 

We present novel interaction design paradigms that create truly accessible technology for deaf SL-signers. Lastly, we contribute to the advancement of collaborative, human-centered methods and research by working toward creating guidelines for conducting inclusive computing research for and with the ASL community.



Computer Science