How Glide Enables the Deaf Community to Communicate Visually

Glide was designed to connect all kinds of people, from different walks of life, all around the world. Our users speak many different languages – including sign language.

Out of the 300 million deaf or hard of hearing people around the world, some 70 million individuals (including children of deaf adults) use some form of sign language as their first language. There are 250 forms of these visual languages in use around the world, including American Sign Language (ASL), which is used by more than half a million people in the U.S. and Canada, British Sign Language, French Sign Language and Cued Speech (which employs hand signs representing sounds, used in conjunction with lip-reading). Clearly, Glide has the potential to help millions of people communicate.

We receive regular feedback from deaf users, who have told us that Glide is very popular among this community. Here are a few examples:

“My deaf students say: ‘It feels like this was specially made for us.”

“I love this app. It makes it much easier to keep in touch with my deaf sister. Thank you.”

“So awesome to be able to leave video messages for my Deaf friends. With voicemail not being an option for those who can’t hear, this is a fantastic option! Thanks so much!!!”

“Love Glide! I am deaf and use sign language to communicate with my friends so this app allows us to get our message across quickly! Awesome app!”

Many in the deaf community have also shared various reasons why Glide has become instrumental in enabling them to easily communicate with their friends, family, and loved ones when apart. First, a conversation in sign language can take place one-handed. Second, video of a signed conversation is a whole lot faster than texting (remember, writing is not a signer’s preferred medium AND sign language isn’t English). Finally, the asynchronous nature of Glide video messaging forces the receiver to wait for the speaker to finish signing, thereby eliminating the possibility of the receiver to “interrupt” the speaker by signing simultaneously – a behavior that is often interpreted as rude.

We’ve already been told there are (at least) 4 different ways to sign “Glide” in ASL. We invite you to check out Sarah Glide’s video above and let us know either here, on YouTubeTwitter or Facebook which “Glide” sign you prefer! Make sure to include #GlideSign in your comment. And if you use another sign for Glide, add Sarah on Glide and share it with her. She’d love to learn it!

Thanks for sharing how important a tool Glide has become in your lives.