Should IS for “Mobile” be different to “Phone”?

As part of a research project I’m helping a client with I recently presented to a group of patients and I was surprised to learn that International Sign (IS) for “mobile” still hasn’t changed and remains the same as “phone” despite the incredible adoption levels of SMS, mobile web and apps by hearing impaired patients.

After suggesting that I think that after the Nokia Decade it should be “looking at the palm of your hand” one audience member referred me to the Google Glasses/Goggles Mobile AR video I’d just played and asked me what it would then be when mobile has advanced so far that it’s providing us with an augmented reality experience through our spectacles.

I wasn’t given the chance to explain as the rest of the group (many of whom had only seen the mobile AR glasses concept video for the first time a few minutes earlier) jumped in explaining how it would just work like anyone would use it to converse with someone in a foreign language and the text would just be scrolling across in front of your eyes as the cloud translates the voice of the person you’re looking at.

Obviously I think it will be through mHealth leadership that the pole position in the mobile device leadership race will be won but it continues to amaze me that so many people in mobile device design still haven’t woken up to the fact that future design direction should be led by those with disabilities.

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