September 23, 2019 — Language learning platform, Drops, today announces that American Sign Language (ASL) is now available on their app Scripts, which teaches learners how to read and write alphabets and character-based language systems. Timing the launch with the United Nations ‘International Day of Sign Languages,’ Drops is now one of the only multi-language platforms to offer ASL alongside other languages.
Drops also announces they have reached the milestone of 15 million downloads in just 4 years. Now offering 36 languages, they have added languages to their platform at a rapid pace, averaging 7 language additions per year. They are now the leading language learning platform in terms of the number of languages offered.
Making ASL accessible to all
There are 72 million deaf people and 466 million people with disabling hearing loss worldwide. According to the United Nations, 80% of the world’s deaf population live in developing countries, and use more than 300 different sign languages to communicate.
Yet, for many deaf or hearing-impaired people across the globe, getting access to basic sign language instruction is complex, pricey, and often requires special schooling – only 2% of the world’s deaf population have access to education in sign language, according to the Global Partnership for Education.
Like all of Drops languages, Drops’ ASL offering on Scripts is free for 5 minutes a day, allowing anyone with the Scripts app the ability to quickly learn the ASL alphabet. By associating illustrations of the signs to their meanings and testing users through fun, 5-minute games, Drops is bringing their acclaimed learning approach to an even broader audience and leveraging its global, multi-million user base to bring global awareness and access to ASL.
Drops commissioned Yiqiao Wang, a graphic designer and senior artist at the Science of Learning Center on Visual Language & Visual Learning at Gallaudet University, the world's only university in which all programs and services are specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard-of-hearing students. A graduate of the university, Wang brought ASL to life in the Scripts app by designing all of the in-app illustrations.
“I’ve been studying Deaf signing and handshapes in ASL for many years and am fascinated by how much power, emotion, and movement each shape can have. Creating the ASL alphabet for Scripts in a way that is beautiful, enjoyable, and playing a part in raising awareness of and facilitating access to, my first and preferred language was a huge honor,” said Yiqiao Wang.
Normalizing ASL and continuing support of United Nations initiatives
Globally renowned for their quick, effective, and fun approach to language learning, Drops has developed a reputation for supporting the preservation of diverse, nontraditional, and indigenous languages. Their work has led them to collaborate with the United Nations through the International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019 (IYIL2019) and support the International Day of Sign Languages.
“Languages are cultural artforms and Drops is committed to preserving and honoring all languages – from the romance languages such as Spanish and French, to endangered and indigenous languages such as Hawaiian, to our newest addition, ASL,” said Daniel Farkas, CEO, Drops.
“Too often we’ve seen ‘niche or nontraditional’ languages siloed into separate learning systems and they’re at risk of disappearing forever. It is important for Drops to not only offer these languages, but to have them available alongside the most popular and widely spoken languages in the world and preserve them for our future generations. We believe it's important to normalize sign language alphabets in the context of other mainstream alphabets, and that’s why we decided to add ASL.”
Growing the Drops user base
Since 2015, Drops has seen significant user growth while remaining bootstrapped and profitable. In addition to surpassing 15M downloads, they are expanding from a single app to a broader language platform that includes multiple apps, Drops and Scripts, and will soon be available in a web offering, allowing users to access the functionality of the primary Drops and Scripts apps from the web.
Due to their quick speed of development and scale, Drops has easily surpassed industry incumbents in terms of their language offerings. Anchored by their vocabulary focus and an unconventional tech stack, Drops can develop new languages accurately and effectively in a matter of weeks.
Drops teaches the essentials of language – vocabulary – by combining engaging word puzzles with visual association. With 36 languages and 15M users and counting, Drops is one of the fastest-growing language platforms in the world. Through 5-minute word games, using Drops is fast, fun, and effective – becoming as second nature as Instagram scroll. Through their companion app Scripts, Drops teaches character-based writing systems and with Travel Talk, users can learn the essential words and phrases you need abroad.
Drops was founded in 2015 by language and learning enthusiasts, Daniel Farkas and Mark Szulyovszky. Drops is available for free on iOS and Android, with a premium version available for $9.99 monthly, $69.99 yearly, or $159.99 for lifetime access.