VidaTalk is an iPad app that was developed to support those in the hospital that can't speak for themselves. By putting the most common statements and questions up front, the app successfully launched and helped those with speech difficulties communicate with their care takers.
As part of the research team, I interviewed and observed nurses, doctors, and patients in serious condition (such as the emergency room) with inhibited speech. We also visited assisted living spaces and spoke with a range of people include speech pathologists, victims of strokes in speech therapy, and care givers. This helped inform what the most important responses were and the easiest ways for nurses, doctors, and family to interact with patients.
It became clear that not only would it be crucial to put the most common responses and questions upfront but that they had to be extremely easy to access. Many of the people we observed with speech issues also had reduced motor controls. This meant that we needed to be especially careful with button size and placement. Insights from the research also allowed us to recognize the need for one of the most popular features: the ability to draw. This feature allows users to extend the functionality to communicate whatever they need.