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I’m not disabled, the world disables me

Darice was born and raised in Aruba. Since 2000 she's been residing in The Hague, the Netherlands. She has become deaf later in life. Darice speaks a good amount of Papiamento, Spanish, English, Dutch, and some basic Dutch sign language. She can also lipread in all previously mentioned languages.

January 29, 2023

Interview with deaf user Darice

Darice works as a front-end developer with a passion for inclusive design. She is also a speaker who gives talks about inclusive design and accessibility. In her daily life she’s using both an iPhone and an Android phone because of Google's Live Transcribe app, a functionality that was not yet supported on the iPhone at the time of this interview. Nowadays she also uses an Apple Watch.

What accessibility features have you set up on your phone?

I really need my mobile phone to vibrate for incoming messages, otherwise I’ll certainly miss them. But the vibration on newer iPhones has become less strong. There's no way to turn it up, so I need a flash now too, especially with an alarm. Then I can see it instead of feeling it.

This is really necessary for me, otherwise I forget appointments. For text messages and WhatsApp, the screen lights up so that I know I'm getting a message. For an alarm I turn on the flash. It is so strong that when I have my phone with the screen on the table, the flash even goes through the mobile phone.

Siri is also useful, as Siri also responds with text. I used Siri first, but I think it's strange to talk to a phone. And because of my accent Siri doesn't always understand me.

iPhones also have a setting with a listening ear icon, which you can use to alert you to certain sounds. I had this turned on at first, but it works so well that I received a lot of notifications. For example, in the city there is almost always an ambulance, which triggers this setting. Since it became distracting, I turned it off.

In addition to my mobile phone, I use a writing interpreter for meetings and interviews. Meetings are important, but I can't always ask for a writing interpreter. So some meetings or conversations take place via WhatsApp. Being able to continuously work from home during corona was super handy for someone who is deaf, because everything took place via email and WhatsApp groups.

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