The importance of accessible design
Accessible design is a design process in which the needs of people with disabilities are specifically considered. Accessibility sometimes refers to the characteristic that products, services, and facilities can be independently used by people with a variety of disabilities. We believe that accessibility is not a feature, but a mindset. Next to the usability and graphic design of a solution, also the accessibility should be taken into account. This in order to create products or solutions that are accessible for everyone.
Our colleagues Stina and Julie wanted to create more awareness about accessible design and decided to to bring together 7 design firms for this good cause. Our Leap Forward companies Little Miss Robot, Knight Moves, Once were joined by our befriended design studios Monkeyshot, Catcoon and Eleven Ways to organize this first edition of the Accessibility Hackathon.
One day, six challenges, 55 designers
Friday the 7th of June was D-day. We started the day with welcoming our accessibility experts and a lovely breakfast. Then it was time for our expert talks. Our first speaker was Bart Vermandere, accessibility expert for Stad Gent, who showed us how their team goes on the field to check if new buildings, event sites, ... are adjusted for everybody. Our second speaker was Roel Van Gils, accessibility nerd at Eleven Ways, who gave a powerful talk about accessibility in a digital atmosphere.
Then our partners from Stad Gent, Digipolis Gent and Jabbla presented six challenges. From helping people with autism spectrum disorder with their daily routines to making musea more accessible for blind and visually impaired people, every team of designers picked a challenge. Then it was time to get to know the accessibility experts, people from the sounding board group of Stad Gent and their network. We learned all about their daily lives, their struggles and soon found a solution that might help them out.
After lunch we started prototyping and building our concepts. And then came the most important part of the day: testing and iterating. We asked our experts what they thought of the solutions, and how we could even make them better. We ended the day with pitching all concepts, drinks and Spitburgers (=local Ghent delicacy).
Check out the video recap of the Accessibility Hackathon