Web-browser extension for looking up explanations in sign language
- La Bulle Elix
- Signes de sens
- Country of Implementation
- Western Europe
- Start Year
- First published
“Elix Bubble improves the lives of deaf people by facilitating access to reading and written French on the web.” Simon Houriez, CEO, Signes De Sens
Signes De Sens is an NGO located in Lille, France, that specialises in Universal Design and accessibility features for persons with disabilities. In 2018 it introduced Elix Bubble, a free extension for web browsers like Edge, Chrome, or Safari. Users can look up words or expressions and access sign language videos via the bilingual French/French Sign Language Elix Dictionary without leaving the web page. In 2021 the Elix Dictionary contained more than 40,000 signs and expressions and Elix Bubble had more than 1,500 users.
Using the Internet can be difficult for people who are deaf or hard of hearing due to the need to constantly switch between tabs to find the definition of a word.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Signes de Sens has for several years been providing Internet users with a bilingual French/French sign language (FSL) video dictionary. As of 2018, FSL users can now access Elix Dictionary at the click of a button when browsing the Internet using the Elix Bubble. This browser extension provides translation of text on web pages via a tooltip (a box opens when right clicking a word), meaning users do not have to leave the page. The dictionary also offers multiple meanings of words. Users can also request sign language videos that have not already been requested and share the videos on social networks. The project collaborates with people who are deaf as critics, contributors, and promotors, and several deaf employees are involved in the project itself. The services are aimed at deaf people practicing sign language along with professionals, caregivers, educators, and family members. As of 2021 there were 71,000 active users of the Elix Dictionary, with 1,500 using Elix Bubble.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
Elix and Elix Bubble are financed by a range of grants, including public funding from the French Ministry of Culture, and individuals and foundations. Other models are being explored to ensure financial sustainability, including income through advertisements, new paid features, or the sale of features such as of books and games. Signes de Sens is aiming to have 150,000 regular users of Elix Bubble, along with expanding it to other countries, by 2025. Another goal is to explore the possibilities of a gateway between various sign languages, such as American Sign Language and others.