People who are Deaf have been at an unfair disadvantage with regards to access to technology. Using Information Communication Technologies (ICT) can be problematic for many people who are Deaf since as pupils many leave school with severe reading and writing inadequacies. Equally important is the fact that the first language for many people who are Deaf is the sign language of their country. Moreover, one may find multiple dialects of sign language within a country. Providing information in sign language can alleviate these types of barriers and impact positively in the integration of the Deaf community into the ICT society.

Taking this into account, the main objective of the ASM4Deaf project is to develop an innovative mobile app that will support the use of sign language GIFs within mainstream social media and networking platforms such as WhatsApp, FB Messenger, Google Hangouts, Telegram and more. The project will focus on American Sign Language GIFs with potential to expand and include more Sign Language GIFs of other countries in future.

The mobile app will be available on Android and iOS platforms.

The ASM4Deaf project aims to:

  • Utilize technology to make a significant impact upon learning and literacy in the Deaf Community and offering equal access to social media apps and platforms.
  • Utilize technology-based innovation to increase access and awareness and support effective communication to local sign language.
  • Develop a literacy intervention for persons who are Deaf.
  • Produce a novel innovation in the research area of Accessible Computing.
  • Enable the creation of resources to improve access to, communication and education in local sign language.
  • Produce a solution that can be adapted to country contexts with potential for scaling.
  • Produce an innovation that is usable by persons who are Deaf, their family members, educators and/or other community members (including hearing) who engage with sign language learning and communication.
  • Produce an innovation that promotes diversity and is gender and culture inclusive.
  • Utilize a broad range of ICTs and media.
  • Provide an innovation that is low-cost and affordable for uptake.
  • Design a solution founded on the principles of universal design, human-centered design and the social model approach by having users who are Deaf co-design the mobile app.

The mobile app core requirements include:

  • American Sign Language
  • GIFs of various most commonly known and used facial expressions
  • 1000 words
  • 100 phrases
  • 50 faces
  • Multiple signers for diversity