My nephew, Henry, was born with severe hearing loss. His hearing ability was limited to 110 dB, the magnitude of which would cause others hearing damage. It was declared he would need hearing aids for the rest of his life. Even then, this would only get him to around 50-60 dB. Still not enough to hear or distinguish speech.
Instead of getting hearing aids, Henry underwent surgery to receive Cochlear implants. Fast forward four years, thanks to an incredibly encouraging family and rapid advances in auditory technology, Henry is able to listen, comprehend and speak. His hearing ability no longer limits his development.
For those with Cochlear Implants, having control and visibility of the sound processors is critical to the overall experience and success of the hardware. These functions are currently performed by a proprietary hardware device.
I am confident that the benefits of these implants can be extended even further, by creating a platform to control these processors with our mobile devices. A platform that is intuitive, responsive and easily upgradable as new features become available. Additional features could include reports on how long the processor has spent in each mode, to give parents feedback on how much their child is engaging with others at school. It could also provide alerts if the child’s processor becomes disconnected, or is low on battery. Further extended features could include an integrated Ling sound test, which is able to provide real time feedback and automated processor calibration.
With this vision in mind, the following project was created to explore how these features could be presented on an iOS device.
- I want to check the battery status of my processor
- I want to control the volume of my sound processor
- I want to view the configuration my clinician programmed
- I want to control the microphone sensitivity on my sound processor
- I want to view the status of my sound processor
- I want to access troubleshooting information
- I want to manually control access to a telecoil
- I want to control auto telecoil activation
- I want to see the status of telecoil connections
- I want to check the pairing status of my sound processor and my iOS device
- I want to access a demo mode to familiarise myself with the settings, without affecting my processor
- I want to return to the default processor settings, as last programmed by my clinician
- I want to switch between simple and advanced modes
- I want to lock and unlock my processor buttons
- I want to adjust my telecoil to microphone mixing ratio
- I want to adjust my audio accessory to microphone mixing ratio
- I want to switch on and off my processor’s sound indicator light
- I want to switch on and off my processor’s key press and alarm indicator light
- I want to enable and disable my processor’s private tones
- I want to view my processor information
- I want to adjust my bilateral processors, both individually and at the same time
- I want to view and adjust my listening environment
The primary interface for the application is a dashboard screen, where the user has access to a number of regularly used functions. At the top is a quick toggle bar, where settings can be easily enabled and disabled. On the left is a responsive volume slider, where processor output can be controlled. A summary status of each processor can be viewed at a glance on the remaining portion of the screen, as well as the current range of frequencies being generated by the sound processor.
The quick toggle was bar initially at the bottom of the screen, however, after a series of user tests indicated confusion as to its function due to its proximity to the menu bar, it was then moved to the top in the second iteration. The menu section was then condensed into a button bar in the third iteration, after user feedback on space utilisation.
The colour pallet was designed to fit with Cochlear’s corporate identity. It features a dark overall design, to reduce eye strain when using the app at night, and reduce distraction to others when the app is used in public.
Building in Sketch
The wireframes were then built into high fidelity formats using Sketch, to provide an understanding of the actual look and feel of the application.
How will it look?