Designing SmartSignPlay: An interactive and intelligent American Sign Language app for children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



This paper describes an interactive mobile application that aims to assist children who are deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH) and their families to learn and practice American Sign Language (ASL). Approximately 95% of D/HH children are born to hearing parents. Research indicates that the lack of common communication tools between the parent and child often results in delayed development in the child's language and social skills. Benefiting from the interactive advantages and popularity of touchscreen mobile devices, we created SmartSignPlay, an app to teach D/HH children and their families everyday ASL vocabulary and phrases. Vocabulary is arranged into context-based lessons where the vocabulary is frequently used. After watching the sign demonstrated by an animated avatar, the user performed the sign by drawing the trajectory of the hand movement and selecting the correct handshape. While the app is still under iterative development, preliminary results on the usability are provided.

Publication Title

International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, Proceedings IUI

First Page


Last Page


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)