Website To Teach & Learn Sign Language


23rd May 2012

When Signworld approached Wired Media with the dream of building a website that supported the complete learning and teaching of British Sign Language, it is needless to say that we were very excited.

It was vital that we truly understood Signworld’s values and what they wanted the site to achieve, so the project began with comprehensive research into Signworld’s proposition. We learnt that with in excess of 5000 videos, interactive tests, as well as other learning materials, Signworld is an unparalleled resource for the deaf community.

Scaling and communication provided two learning curves on this project. Both MDs and the majority of Signworld’s staff are deaf, which meant that meetings and phone calls were mostly done with the aid of interpreters. Communication challenges became apparent during the build of the interactive tests; the tests included a variety of dragging, selection and productive repetition style tests, of which they had a clear vision of how they wanted them to work and look which had to be reflected across the site. We overcame this by drawing storyboards of how they would work taking technical aspects into considerations and having Signworld sign off on the storyboards.

Tackling in excess of 5000 videos stored in two formats posed massive questions on scalability. Each video had up to ten regional variations for different dialects of BSL. This meant that it needed a storage capacity beyond any standard or virtual server that Wired Media host. As a solution we stored the videos on Amazon S3 and served through Amazon CloudFront CDN, meaning the site was piracy-proof and had infinite storage capacity.

Signworld were absolutely thrilled with their new website; it reflects their values in terms of technological advancement and has been heavily optimised to deal with traffic spikes caused as a result of Signworld’s various television appearances, and thus provides users with an unparalleled online resource.