This is a very old post (2006), written by Sven Noben, founder of Signfuse. Several data (and links) in this article may be outdated.
Creating the website for DFCE 4 has been a real challenge and it was pure fun.
DFCE is an acronym for Deaf Free Camp Europe. It was founded by two Dutch people, Pepe Visscher and Maarten Vreugdenhil. The first summercamp was organized by them in Luxembourg, in 2003.
This year DFCE was up to it’s 4th edition, and me and my friend Carolien Doggen took the organization upon us.
We also had 7 great volunteers helping us around during the camp in Belgium.
It was a truly unforgettable experience.
But, back to the website of DFCE 4, we needed to spread the information about the camp among our international Deaf friends.
The traditional way of doing this in English didn’t seem us too fair.
We couldn’t expect them to understand English clearly, so we opted for a harder but challenging road; create the website purely in International Sign.
I was of course very interested in doing this, as I am studying New Media at the moment, and Sign Language was my core target to research in New Media.
We realized however that not all Deaf people are as good in International Sign and wanted to offer them a possibility to join in as well. Therefore we decided to subtitle everything in English. Hmmm yea, English…
In fact, this way, the DFCE website became one of the first websites, together with the SignFuse website, to be completely built in a sign language. Even better, it became the first website ever that offered accessibility for non-signing people. (No accessibility for the blind or deafblind though… Maybe next time.)
What a contradiction, websites used to be made accessible for the disabled, but now the website is made accessible for the non-disabled. Isn’t that powerful?
It made us feel much stronger, we were no longer the disabled, but the non-signers were.
Many other Deaf people got the same overwhelming feeling:
"I'm very suprised about the website of DFCE4."
"It's the best site that I've ever saw in Belgium. WOW"
"This site is brilliant!!!"
"This website is fantastic!"
"we are very surprised about your website"
"really super-website... wow!"
"Waauw. The website is fantastic and new."
"The website is wonderful!"
"This is really a super cool site!!! It's relaxed to enjoy this site in our own 'visual language'!!"
"Wow ! Congratulations for your excellent website ! A really good job, all visual... !"
"very cool theme in website with full informations in unbelievable sign language"
"Really is the website of DFCE very beautiful!!"
"This is really a wicked idea! Great website"
And we were so overwhelmed by their positive comments.
The movies? We just filmed them at a friends apartment that accidentally had a blue-tone painted wall. We pointed some simple desktop lights at us and signed the information right away.
The background images were grabbed at Flickr (licensed under creative commons) and everything was combined in Adobe Flash 7.
See? You don’t need a professional studio to do that. One can do it just at home!
And the camp? It has been a success 🙂