What Visual Format Should be Adopted to inform the Deaf and Hearing-impaired in Public Transportation?

Empirical Studies
By Laurence Paire-Ficout, Laurent Saby, Aline Alauzet, Jonathan Groff,, Jean-Michel Boucheix


Some information is not accessible to the deaf and hard-of-hearing in public transportation because it is diffused in an auditory mode with loud speakers. The present study aims to transcribe graphically five messages of disruption and test their understanding by an audience of people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Four graphic formats, more or less involving animation techniques have been developed. Messages have been tested experimentally to determine what format is the most adapted, i.e. the most understandable (understanding task), and to find out the favorite among the four proposed (judgment task). Three groups of subjects were involved in the experimentation: 36 born deaf people, 32 people who became deaf and 20 elderly with age-associated deafness. Visuo-spatial attention, processing speed, working memory and the ability to analyze an image were assessed to take into account their contribution in the treatment of graphic information. Knowledge about train transportation as well as the frequency of use of multimedia supports were also collected through a questionnaire.
Results indicate that messages are better understood, less misinterpreted and preferred by the majority of the participants in the animated format compared to other more static formats. Moreover, the ability to quickly process visual information as well as the ability to quickly analyze an image positively contribute to treatment of graphic animations. In addition, a young age, frequent use of transportation as well as good familiarity with multimedia support promote understanding of the messages, as well as a young age being more correlated than the age at which deafness occurred.
In conclusion, visual animated messages can be an effective solution to relay disruption for users who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. This solution also provides interesting perspectives to respond at objectives of accessibility information for all traveller.


  • transportation
  • disruption
  • information for traveller
  • animations
  • deafness
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