Signly launch is a huge success

Great exposure for Signly app

Monday 7th December saw the successful launch of the Signly app at the Roald Dahl museum in Buckinghamshire. After a number of testing stages the app was signed off and launched with interest from local press, including the BBC and local radio station Mix 96.

The BBC’s feature on Signly was aired on the regional news programme South Today, Tuesday 8th December at 6:30 pm. Not only does this bring tremendous kudos to the efforts of the team behind Signly but also spreads the message of a great app that can significantly help the deaf community in accessing information quickly and conveniently through their own smartphone or tablet.

Buckinghamshire’s radio station – Mix 96 also ran a feature on Signly that was included every half hour on the station’ s news update.

This was fantastic exposure for not only Signly, but for the Roald Dahl Museum too, who have been pivotal in their support for Signly and the benefits it can bring to the deaf community.

This collaborative effort between Intermedia, Deafax and The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre  has been the key to launching a successful app that has true potential. Not only for cultural sites, such as museums, but for a potential wider purpose in airports, train stations, exhibitions, events, children’s reading books and more.

The future is exciting and very much visual for the deaf community.

For more information on Signly visit –

Signly: the sign language interpreter in your pocket

Signly Banner_centre justified

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.

Opening up museums to deaf audiences | Museums Association

Exploring a museum collection is a very visual experience, yet deaf audiences are one of the most neglected by museums.The latest Museum Practice explores the different communication needs that deaf and hard-of-hearing people have and looks at practical steps museums can take to break down barriers, physically and intellectually.

The importance of introducing British Sign Language (BSL) to museums through deaf-led events and digital guides is examined, alongside the role that subtitles can play in widening access to audiences with hearing loss.

There are also case studies on Signing Art, a Tate project to train more deaf presenters, and the BSL multimedia guide from ss Great Britain.

And the Thackray Museum in Leeds and the V&A in London introduce their work with deaf audiences in Your Case Studies.

Click here to read Museum Practice now


Opening up museums to deaf audiences | Museums Association.

See Hear looks at deaf access to healthcare | BSL Zone

This week’s episode of the BBC’s series for deaf people, See Hear, is about a hot topic in the deaf world in recent months – the lack of access to healthcare and health services.

There are more and more stories of deaf people signing consent forms without full understanding of the operation they’re about to have; hearing relatives interpreting their deaf father’s diagnosis; and much more.

This lack of access has led to a general lack of health among deaf people who use BSL.

The episode looks at recent research from SignHealth and Healthwatch York, and explores people’s stories in more detail. There is an interview with a representative of the NHS about these recent failings.

This episode can now be seen on iPlayer by clicking here.


See Hear looks at deaf access to healthcare | BSL Zone.

Signing would greatly improve deaf people’s GP experiences | Steve Powell | Society | The Guardian

Thirty per cent of deaf people in the UK are unemployed, permanently sick or disabled, according to the 2009 GP patient survey. This is three times higher than the general population. Fundamental issues lie at the heart of this statistic. Deaf people have serious difficulties accessing basic healthcare services and their needs are being ignored.

At SignHealth we continually hear anecdotal tales of appalling practice in the way deaf people are treated on the NHS, but it’s hard to get the exact detail. Some of our worst fears have been confirmed through a mixture of our own access report, statistics from the GP patient survey and anecdotal evidence.

Deaf people are facing constant difficulty with telephone appointment booking systems, verbal prompts when their doctor is ready to see them, and rarely have a clear understanding of their diagnosis and treatment. We have also found examples of GPs refusing to book interpreters because they cost too much and people not understanding their medication and taking the wrong amount.

Waiting times for interpreters in GP appointments is a massive problem. At the moment many people have to wait weeks to book a sign language interpreter who can make sure the patient and clinician are able to clearly communicate. There is an obvious link between these delays and poorer general health.

Some doctors argue that interpreters are unnecessary because a member of the family can interpret but this has clear confidentiality issues. You only have to hear one story about a deaf parent being given a diagnosis of terminal cancer through the sign language translation of their eight-year-old child to appreciate quite how wrong this is.

We recognise that there are not enough sign language interpreters and bookings can be difficult, but simple technologies are available to help.

We are urging GPs and hospitals to start using the online sign language interpreting service SignTranslate. This means that deaf people can have same day appointments with their doctor connecting via a remote interpreter at the click of a mouse.

There is also a strong cost-saving argument to solving these communication problems. Bad communication means deaf people have to see their GP on many more occasions than their hearing peers. Estimates put the number of additional appointments made by deaf people at around 625,000. With an average appointment costing £25, this equates to £15.6m each year. Research to date suggests that spending a fraction of this on making services more accessible will save the NHS millions.

The GP patient survey shows that deaf people are still the most misunderstood patient group. We can see that deafness has a profound impact on people’s wellbeing and general contribution to society and this is significantly worse than other minority groups.

At SignHealth we’re committed to highlighting these inequalities and bringing about improvements. Later this year, we’ll be leading a collaborative study into the health of deaf people. This will be the largest piece of research ever carried out in this field and we urge deaf people to register now on to bring about the changes that are so desperately needed.

Steve Powell is chief executive of SignHealth, the healthcare charity for deaf people

Signing would greatly improve deaf people’s GP experiences | Steve Powell | Society | The Guardian.