Unlike other Gboard stickers that are mostly decorative, the ASL ones convey a message. Each sticker comprises an anthropomorphic phrase, complete with a face and two hands that signs the phrase it embodies. So with the “Thank You” sticker, for example, the face is in the “O,” with two blue arms on either side. To symbolize “thank you,” it touches its chin with the fingers on the right hand, and then exposes the palm forward. This way, Flores said, both the hearing and the hard-of-hearing can understand the message.
“When I first started the project, I thought the sticker was going to be a character like an elephant,” she said to Engadget. “But if we did that, somebody who wasn’t in the deaf community would look at the sticker and be like, ‘What is the elephant doing? It’s just moving its hands.'” By having the sticker be the phrase itself, that has the added benefit of teaching ASL to those who don’t [...]