ASL Tab

A browser extension that helps you learn a little American Sign Language (ASL) every time you open a new tab.

Summary

ASL Tab is a browser extension that helps people learn American Sign Language (ASL) as they browse the web. Whenever a new tab is opened, a random YouTube video from LifePrint/ASLU/Dr. Bill Vicars plays in the browser. Each video is just a few seconds long, so it’s easy to take a moment and learn a new sign or phrase.

Inspiration

I volunteer occasionally at Canada Learning Code (formerly Ladies Learning Code). One day, I decided to mentor a full-day workshop on browser extensions even though I’d never built one before. I’d been working as a front-end developer for over a year, so I expected my JavaScript experience would be sufficient. I spent some time before the workshop reviewing the workshop course materials and browser documentation for creating browser extensions.

The workshop was a success, and I became more interested in how browser extensions are built. I just had to think of an idea for a first browser extension that was both simple and useful.

I’d been learning ASL at Queer ASL and often referred to Dr. Bill’s videos. Since his videos are very short, I thought that playing a random video of his would be a great way to build ASL vocabulary.

Results

After building the first version of ASL Tab, I shared it with Dr. Bill who then shared it with his ASL learners’ Facebook group.

Once it had his approval, I shared it with Queer ASL’s Facebook group.

The browser extension was featured in Canada Learning Code’s theme page for February/accessibility and newsletter.

The extension now has over 80 users, which is much more than I had expected. I’m so happy to see so many people using my product and learning ASL.