UX Equation: Data + Battery = Speech

Great app performance enables us to help people overcome language barriers.

At Facebook, we love inspiring our community by finding fun and simple ways to share our research insights and findings. In this series, we ask our researchers to define their favorite “UX Equation” — a simple mathematical way of showing how they build great experiences for people. This week’s guest star: Chris Langston.

Mobile devices’ ability to keep us connected can be especially important to members of the deaf community. Sign languages such as Libras (Brazil’s most-used sign language) are powerful tools, but they probably won’t help you communicate with most members of your local community. You need another way to converse with neighbors, shopkeepers, doctors, and police. That often means calling a friend or using an app to translate, or searching for a video that can help you know what to do or where to go.
All these solutions require a mobile device with enough battery and available data transfer. In emerging markets, which often have slow networks and data caps, that can be a challenge. If you hit your data cap when you’re out and about, you might have to dial a toll-free number to add more minutes … but if you’re a signer, that might not be an option. 
Of course, it’s up to the individual to ensure that their phone is charged and there are minutes left on their plan. But it’s up to us to make sure that our apps use as little as possible of both. Reminding myself and my team that data + battery = speech helps us stay focused on the human impact of what we do.

Chris works on Accessibility as part of the Core Experience team. He focuses on ensuring that Facebook works for everyone, regardless of physical abilities.

Illustration: Henrique Athayde