2014 SUNspot (Number 02) - Use of Mobile Apps by People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Date of Publication: 
2014 June

We created “SUNspot” to share some of the latest findings from ongoing data collection for our Survey of User Needs (SUN), our cornerstone survey on use and usability of wireless technology by people with disabilities.  We launched the first version of the SUN in 2001. The current version (Version 4) was launched in September 2012. Data collection was conducted through September 2013. The data reported here are preliminary results. 

This SUNspot focuses on the use and unmet needs for mobile apps on smartphones and tablets by adults who are deaf or hard of hearing. People with hearing loss, especially those who are deaf, are generally perceived as early and avid adopters of mobile wireless communication technology. They embraced the Sidekick and Blackberry devices in the early 2000s, and have similarly embraced contemporary touch-screen devices and services.

This SUNspot addressess the following questions:

  • But beyond text and email messaging, do deaf and hard of hearing consumers tend to use lots of apps?  
  • Do the apps they use include mainstream and more expensive specialized apps?
  • With more than 1 million apps available on each of the two major app marketplaces (Apples AppStore and GooglePlay), do deaf and hard of hearing users still have unmet needs?


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