NRS app: Empowering people with hearing and speech disabilities

Background

The National Relay Service (NRS) is an Australian Government initiative to empower people that are deaf, hard of hearing and/or have a speech impairment to make and receive phone calls with the assistance of a trained relayer. For many, this service has a direct impact on everyday life and enables independence of call making in a range of contexts – including work, personal admin, social and emergency-based scenarios.

Challenge

The NRS required a re-platforming of its mobile service provision, presenting an inherent opportunity to improve the relay call experience across its iOS and Android apps. The apps needed to provide an accessible, cost-effective upgrade to the experience, as well as ensure that the solution was robust, reliable and that it could handle and prioritize emergency calls through the service. In addition, it needed to provide clear pathways to other call types and services provided by the NRS, serving as a connective hub.

NRS app: Empowering people with hearing and speech disabilities

Solution

Concentrix Catalyst partnered with the NRS and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, over a 3 month Agile Design & Build project to deliver the apps.

Underpinning the human-centric design approach to this project was engagement with the Deaf and hard of hearing community, facilitated by the advocacy organization Expression Australia. With their assistance facilitating and interpreting Auslan (sign language) based sessions, rounds of research with the community were effectively run at their facilities. This provided a rich body of knowledge that informed the prioritization of app features, and was shared for the implementation of improvements at the higher service level.

The NRS apps connect people across Australia with each other every day, with up to 225 daily active users in peak times – demonstrating a significant increase in usage since their launch.

The apps offer fast, intuitive relay call-making, being brought inline with modern native chat-based app experiences. Additionally, they offer the optimum possible level of accessibility. Features such as the display of queue position during busy times was integrated based on user feedback, and robust, reliable access to emergency services was implemented with a minimum to zero connection time.

The apps empower people with specific communication needs to make phone calls from their mobile phones, leveraging the power of their native platforms to provide a robust solution within lean, rapid agile delivery.

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