Friendly Website Design for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired

Friendly Website Design for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired

In the growing digital age, we have an opportunity to create inclusive ways of connection to circulate information and reach people of all abilities.

One rapidly increasing area where inclusivity is needed is within the deaf population. Statistics reveal the number of Americans with hearing loss is about 17% of the adult population. This number is predicted to grow as more Baby Boomers become elders, and as we see the impact ear bud usage and loud volume music will have on Millennials and Gen Xers.

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Importance Web-Design for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired

The web-based world is a rapidly advancing medium that can bridge the hearing impaired community into areas that previously felt exclusive. Consider how you would move through life without the ability to hear. Drawing upon the other main senses of sight, touch, taste, and smell will aid you in designing an engaging website to include the hearing impaired. With this in mind, we spoke with local Texas company, Moonraker Marketing seo & web, that specializes in customized website design. They gave us tips on how to best create a deaf-friendly website:

1. Use Simple, Clear Language

Though the web is a visually-stunning environment, deaf individuals use sign-language which is completely different than standard written English. Reading skills in the hearing impaired community vary and need to be considered when creating your web content.

2. Visual Balance

Creating a balance between written content and stunning imagery helps visitors to your site take in information through all the senses. For deaf individuals, the visual experience is heightened. Draw upon this.

3. Text Transcripts and Closed-Captioning

Many websites and marketing platforms use audio and video presentations to connect and share their message. Including text-based transcripts with audio supplements and closed-captioning with videos offers engagement for the deaf. These tools are relatively easy to include and usually inexpensive. Offering them within your web design sends the message that you value inclusivity.

4. Further Connection

Creating a way to further connect and ask questions, supports deaf visitors to feel welcomed. Including buttons like “Connect Further!” or “Have a Question?” creates more engagement. You can also include a side bar that suggests if you need further assistance or are deaf to please reach out.

Every day new technologies are being designed to support deaf people in leading more fulfilling lives. New apps are being created and can be suggested to web users in your community.

When designing your website remember the following points for greater inclusivity of deaf individuals:

  • Use simple, clear language
  • Provide imagery with written content
  • Include text-based transcripts and closed-captioning with audio and videos
  • Provide avenues for further connection and direct communication
  • Honoring Ways They’ve Felt Left Out

Our growing technological culture is highly stimulating and mostly focused on audio and verbal exchange. Including design strategies right from the start that take into consideration what it’s like to navigate an online world without hearing is true advancement!

Exploring Texas School for the Deaf’s Neighborhood in South Austin

Exploring Texas School for the Deaf’s Neighborhood in South Austin

The Texas School for the Deaf provides education to deaf and hard of hearing students in grades K-12. Many students opt to live on-campus where they are submerged in the “SPICE” residential program, which includes several fun activities, including off campus excursions. Located in South Austin, TSD sits in the middle of the Travis Heights neighborhood, a place known known for its walkability, green public parks, and trendy eateries. This area borders SoCo, a culturally rich street packed with art galleries, music venues, bars, restaurants, and boutiques. There’s also nearby Bouldin Creek, a diverse historic neighborhood that has recently gentrified, giving it an edgy, hipster vibe. These South Austin neighborhoods have a lot to offer TSD’s students and their visiting family and friends.

Where to Eat

If you’re looking for coffee, look no further than the Bouldin Creek Cafe, the best place to get a freshly brewed cup of fair trade coffee or tea. The cafe also features a wide selection of affordable vegetarian and non-vegetarian entrees. For a hearty sit-down breakfast, South Congress Cafe offers up the best brunch in SoCo. Just be sure to get there early! If you’re looking for grab-and-go, Gourdough’s is a local food truck that pumps out amazing gigantic donuts with crazy toppings. For lunch or dinner, don’t miss Bouldin Creek’s famous food truck scene. There are ethnic choices, such as Bombay Dhaba, which serves better Indian food than most brick-and-mortar restaurants. Regal Ravioli, Hot Mess, and Conscious Cravings are great too!

Where to Stay

There are plenty of options for overnight stays in South Austin. Hotel San Jose in Bouldin Creek is a super cool urban bungalow hotel. If its sleek, modern interior, and kimono bathrobes aren’t enough to convince you to stay, the fact that it puts you in walking distance of Austin’s hippest neighborhood should. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly selection, you might want to consider reserving an Airbnb rental in the Travis Heights neighborhood, which is just a 17-minute cab drive to the nearest airport. In SoCo, we recommend the South Congress Hotel, which offers inviting hardwood floored rooms, each with their own minibar.

Closest Grocery Store

There is no shortage of grocery stores within a short distance of the Texas School for the Deaf. Farm to Market is an 18-minute walk from the campus and offers a full deli, a huge inventory of local, natural, and specialty products, beer, wine, coffee, and many other delectable treats. Royal Blue Grocery is a six-minute drive and offers conventional groceries, prepared foods, and specialty products galore. Drive a little further down the road and you will find Trader Joe’s at the newly renovated Seaholm Power Plant.

Best Local Shopping

When in SoCo, be sure to check out the amazing selection of boutiques. For women’s clothing, Maya Star offers the best in indie designers from around the world. Uncommon Objects is an amazing vintage and antique shop that is fun for the whole family. For something sweet, Big Top Candy Shop is a treat!   If your child is moving to Austin for TSD’s residential program, you can be assured they are moving to a safe and vibrant area of the capital city. Having a child moving away from home can be difficult on everyone, so TSD’s staff recommends each student bring things to personalize their space and remind them of home. If you need additional advice on how to prepare for this move, check out these tips from cross country movers. Not only will your child have access to the best education in the state, they’ll also have lots of fun getting to explore their new surroundings with their new friends. Plus, you’ll have a great time exploring Austin together when you get to visit them for family weekends and special events.
If You Are Moving To Texas, Check Out the Best Schools for the Deaf

If You Are Moving To Texas, Check Out the Best Schools for the Deaf

Finding the best school to fit a disabled child’s needs can be an extremely challenging process. Add in moving to a new city or state, and it can really compound the challenge. Most parents will go above and beyond to ensure their special needs child acquires a quality education, and for those making a move to the state of Texas, we’ve got you covered. If you’re trying to find the best education for your deaf child, check out some of the best schools for the deaf in Texas:

The Texas School for the Deaf

This residential school in Austin offers a well-rounded curriculum for the deaf, with quality communication and language programs for grades pre-K through 12. It also accommodates students with other disabilities as well. The institution’s organizational structure and policies cater to the particular needs of each child, and the program integrates technology to equip children with decision-making and critical thinking skills. While most students live on campus, there are also programs available for non-residents as well.    

The Hearing School of the Southwest

A non-profit school in Coppell, Texas, The Hearing School of the Southwest takes in children with hearing aids and cochlear implants to develop their listening and communication skills. The school enrolls children from infancy through kindergarten and offers a flexible needs-based pricing policy. While the curriculum is tailored to best suit each child’s needs, speech pathology and audiological support are among the primary services offered. One of the best parts of this school is that the student-to-teacher ratio is three-to-one, giving the staff more time to focus on the individual needs of each child.

The Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children

The Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children is located in San Antonio, Texas and offers a day school for children from preschool through 5th grade. The school’s auditory programs, which are taught by masters-level educators, focus on assisting children with developing speech, listening, and language skills that will serve them well in the hearing world. The Sunshine Cottage incorporates outdoor learning to enhance team building and strengthen skills like balance. The school also offers professional and medical resources that can provide your child with quality health assistance. Furthermore, the school creates awareness of and advocates education for early hearing loss through its infant programs.    

The Jean Massieu Academy

This institution was initially designed to specifically educate hearing impaired children, but later allowed students without disabilities to enroll. Learning programs at this Arlington school include individual plans, modern technology-based techniques, and group projects. A small classroom setting and online sessions are provided to allow students to learn at their own pace, with each child guaranteed equal treatment. All teachers are proficient in American Sign Language, and classroom conditions are ideal if for those who desire for their hearing impaired child to interact with other students who can hear.   Texas offers the above and many other options for hearing impaired students, which is great news if your family is planning to relocate here. Thanks to Apple Moving, a Texas-based moving company, for partnering with us for this post. Apple is one of Texas’ oldest movers, providing reliable, quality moving services since 1991. If you are looking for help with your upcoming local or long distance move, don’t hesitate to give them a call.  
Best Resources for Mastering American Sign Language

Best Resources for Mastering American Sign Language

Learning American Sign Language or ASL is just like learning any new language. It takes time, effort, and repetition to master the vocabulary needed to communicate effectively. Luckily there are a vast number of resources and available information on ASL to help you become fluent. From modern methods that embrace technology to traditional techniques that