Signly: the sign language interpreter in your pocket

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Revolutionary new app unlocks cultural venues for deaf people

A unique app is unlocking cultural venues for deaf people – starting with the world of master storyteller Roald Dahl.

Sign language is the preferred language for many deaf people, and the Signly app, now in use at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, delivers smart signed content directly to the user’s device. The visitor simply opens the app and points it at a Signly logo to play the relevant video.  Sign language interpreters appear via the app, as if the visitor had brought their own interpreter along in their pocket.

At the Museum, Signly users can for example, aim their smartphone at the Signly label positioned near Roald Dahl’s writing chair to get signed content about the exacting daily routine he followed to create his famous tales. Users can enjoy the venue without having to make their ‘special needs’ known.

Signly was conceived and developed by Mark Applin, founder of Intermedia, and Deafax, a charity committed to transforming the lives of deaf people through technology.

The Roald Dahl Museum in Buckinghamshire, UK, is the first venue where visitors can use Signly. The Museum supported the creation of the app and facilitated on-site user testing to improve the app experience.  Museum Director, Steve Gardam said:

“We’re delighted to have been the first venue to trial the Signly app, as we strive to make our museum more accessible for more people. We love how Signly allows you to look ‘through’ your smartphone and still see the museum on the other side. Roald Dahl’s own inventiveness led to the creation of the Wade-Dahl-Till valve to help people with hydrocephalus. Signly is entirely in this spirit of working together to find creative and practical solutions”.

Signly is filling a substantial gap in the market. Users with hearing problems say the technology has ‘added a new dimension to our lives’ (Faye, parent of deaf child). Nine million people in the UK have hearing difficulties. There are 45,000 deaf children. With 90 per cent of deaf youngsters born to hearing parents, Signly is the gateway to the perfect family day out.

“Good idea. They are helping deaf to understand.” (Deaf child, aged 8)


Logo (horizontal)Signly is ideal for any venue looking to be more accessible for deaf users. By using people’s own smart devices, it makes a huge difference without having to install major infrastructure. Intermedia Solutions will work with a venue to translate its key messages into filmed sign language for the app, triggered at key locations on the visitor route simply by holding up a smart device. Signly is ideal for museums, galleries, theatres, leisure centres, libraries, information centres, bus and rail stations, airports… any organisation looking to meet its obligations under the Equality Act 2010. Future releases will include options to scan objects as well as labels to reveal signed content.

Roald DahlThe Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre is aimed at 6 to12 year olds and their families and is situated in the village of Great Missenden, where Roald Dahl lived and wrote for 36 years. It has three fun and fact-packed interactive galleries. Visitors can see the original interior of his Writing Hut, the ramshackle but magical place where he crafted all his children’s stories.

Come for an inclusive family visit over the Christmas holidays; try out Signly and join in with Christmas clue trails, crafts and storytelling.  To celebrate Disabled Access Day, on Saturday 12 March, the Museum has BSL signed talks and storytelling sessions throughout the day for deaf and hearing visitors of all ages.

For further information about the Museum,
please contact:
Isabelle Reynolds
01494 892192

DeafaxEstablished in 1985, Deafax develops solutions and opportunities for deaf people, in order to empower them and enhance their lives. Deafax is the number one organisation for specialist visual and interactive deaf-friendly resources.Our training and resources cover a wide range of different topics in the fields of health, employment, education and life skills and our visual, interactive, specialist approach is consistent throughout.

In visitor attractions and other locations, we know that written English is not always the best way to share information with deaf people, as many of them prefer sign language. Signly is therefore a major step forward in providing equal access for more people.

For further information about Signly, if you are an organisation interested in implementing Signly, or would like to arrange a site visit to the Roald Dahl Museum, please contact:
Philip Boyle
07793 768317

Intermedia make a range of digital tools, including apps, animations, websites and films for some of the UK’s leading brands.

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