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Context Tool: Problem Definition

A tool to break down how a problem affects groups of people differently.

Jordan has the highest number of deaf students in the region. There are only 10 public schools for deaf children, which are distributed unequally around the country. 80% of deaf children are illiterate. Many parents struggle to communicate with their children, as they don’t have access to resources for formal Arabic sign language. Often, they invent their own form of sign language, leaving children unable to communicate with other people, including other hearing impaired people.

The team behind Martha researched the problem and came up with their challenge statement: How might we provide interactive visual education for children with hearing disabilities to enable them to read and write? To break down how this problem affects different contexts, they filled in the tool as below:

The team developed educational cards paired with an augmented reality app. Their aim was to improve communication and literacy skills of deaf children and their families in formal sign language. The app was developed to be used at home.

  1. You know what the current problem is from research or interviews done with affected groups of people. You may want to have a challenge statement ready.
  2. Fill in how the problem currently manifests in each context. You can simply write it in, use sticky notes, or even cut out images.

We started with children with disabilities hearing, vision and physical. Our first instinct after using the tool was to start on the national level, which was to go to the government school. The schools were limited to only 10 and they were far away from the people who needed to access them. The tool helped us explore the different stakeholders in the context we were working in. We moved from understanding the needs of government schools to the centers offering services to deaf children, to finally realizing that the opportunity space was with the parents.

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How Might We Question Template

A template that helps you frame your design challenge into and actionable problem statement that will drive the rest of your problem solving work.