Deafness and design: A conversation with Ravi Vasavan, designer at Koto – Creative Review

Nick: Hi Ravi. We often end up talking on Text Radio about the medium itself, and the role that writing vs speech plays in people’s lives. You have a powerful perspective on that. Do you want to say more about what you think of this medium, and how it connects with the way you communicate generally?

Ravi: Yes, the format has a smack of familiarity for me, because it’s how I communicated with many hearing people growing up. From pen and paper to dingy old Nokia phones, onto iPhone and so on.

As a deaf family, we had a TTY – a Teletype Writer – a technology that connects to a normal phone set, and has a relay service person who writes the text out to us, and we write back. That was my first exposure to chatting in text format.

I still remember when mobile phones came out and how powerful that was. It became an individual thing. I got my own phone and was able to write into it and hand it over to friends or strangers for them to respond.

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