A new app for smartphone keyboards called Signily allows users to send text messages and emails using sign language symbols.
At present, Tech Insider reports, the app only covers American Sign Language, and is only available for Apple iPhones.
But the implications of the app, and the potential for the future, are very important. Many do not recognise the differing needs of deaf internet users, as some popular signing phrases do not have exact English translations.
The use of static sign language emoji, as well as animated sign language gestures, could make texting a much more natural experience for deaf people who predominately use sign language to communicate.
A Signily representative said: "Most of us in the deaf community use text messaging or email to communicate back and forth to each other, and oftentimes, we've noticed that is not 100% equivalent to American Sign Language."
The app opens up a lot of potential for deaf people and those with hearing loss who rely on texting and email to communicate, with many hoping that plans to expand to other operating systems and sign language dialects will follow.
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