Home Your IT Mobility Sign language goes mobile thanks to new app

Optus Business has worked with Deaf Services Queensland to develop SignIQ, a smartphone app that teaches Australian Sign Language.

Coinciding with The National Week of Deaf People, Deaf Services Queensland today launched SignIQ, a smartphone application developed in partnership with Optus Business that assists in teaching Australian Sign Language (Auslan).

Brett Casey, Chief Executive Officer of Deaf Services Queensland, says the SignIQ app is a significant step for Deaf Services Queensland, as users can search more than 125 common words or phrases; access the equivalent Auslan signs in a visual format; learn about the context in which signs can be used; and test their newly acquired skills with a memory recall game.

“Many of the applications in the market are based on American Sign Language, as opposed to Australian. Learning a new language can be really difficult, too – so we wanted to help Auslan learners by providing them with the means to do so in an engaging and interactive way,” Brett Casey said.

Deaf Services Queensland’s proposal for the SignIQ app was a runner-up in the 2011 Optus Mobile Apps Challenge, which encouraged businesses to submit their app concepts to be considered for joint design and development by Optus Business and its mobility partners. Optus Business recognised the educational benefit of the SignIQ app concept and worked with its mobility partner Philology to make the application a reality.

Phil Offer, Vice President Mobility & Convergence at Optus Business said, “Our Optus Future of Business Report found that more organisations are embracing apps as a way to engage with their customers and the community. More than 48 per cent of organisations plan to develop mobile apps for their customers in the next three to five years.

“Working with our mobility partner Philology, Deaf Services Queensland and Optus have developed an app that is more relevant and accessible for Auslan learners. Using animations to teach Auslan, the app also educates users on how particular signs are used in context, while providing important information on the etiquette of communicating with the deaf, too,” Phil Offer said.

The National Week of Deaf People runs from Saturday 20th until Friday 26th October, 2012.

The SignIQ app is available on the iTunes App store for $1.99, or for more info check out this video.


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David Swan

David Swan is a tech journalist from Melbourne and is iTWire's Associate Editor. Having started off as a games reviewer at the age of 14, he now has a degree in Journalism from RMIT (with Honours) and owns basically every gadget under the sun.