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RSA SDA Winning Entry-2022

An app that supports deaf children to learn vocabulary through outdoor exploratory play.

Designer- Sophie Hague

Brief set by: Lego 

Awarded by: Royal Society of Arts

36% of adults openly admitted they do not have time in the day to play with their children. 

Playtime is under threat and there is a growing disconnect from adults. Adults tend to go to more pre planned play instead of spontaneous play.

The need for a diverse skill set is dire, the global pandemic has accelerated the changed to a modern world. There is also a present hindrance to play occurring called ‘The Play Gap.’ The play gap is affected by constraints such as increased time pressures, socio-economic factors and cultural beliefs around gender. Factors such as technology, long working hours, accessibility and cost are all factors that mean fewer moments to play which means less time to develop skills. This negatively impacts children’s development. This disproportion directly impacts the disadvantaged, the disadvantages are based on sex, race, poverty, disability, geography, ethnicity and language.

So how might we support all families, carers and communities to play and learn more creatively at home?

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“Given the right support there is no reason for any deaf child to develop language at a slower rate than a hearing child with similar abilities”- The Hearing Fund UK

In the UK, 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents with little experience of how to communicate with a deaf person. 

Many deaf children struggle to communicate with their immediate family and develop language at a slower rate than children without hearing impairments. Less than 10% people in the UK know more than two words in British Sign Language creating barriers in not only social development but also emotional development as they are not being exposed to the same level of communication as children without hearing impairments.

It quickly became apparent after my research that the play resources for deaf children were inaccessible or non-existent. Therefore I decided to get in-touch with the parents of deaf children community to enquire about what resources they currently use to engage their children in social play. After speaking with the community it confirmed my previous findings and also brought to light that the demand for resources to learn British Sign Language were increasingly growing at a fast pace.

Look!- User Flow

1. Introductory Section

This section is the introduction for the user. Here they can choose which character they would like to play alongside. The user will then click on the about section to learn about what signing is and why the character likes to sign.

2.How to section


The how to section is for first time users, the chosen character will take the user on a demo of how the app works which once completed they can then go onto discovering their own signs.

3.The Journal

The journal is where the user can keep previous signs they have discovered. It is split into scenes making it more simplified for the user. The idea is that the user can tap on the images they have taken and the sign will reappear.

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