Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Vodafone Smart Accessibility Awards open for entries

smart accessibility 2011 fb imageAs you may already be aware, the lovely people at Vodafone Foundation have set up the Smart Accessibility Awards which I am actively involved in. To remind you quickly, these awards are to celebrate apps that help people in four key areas: Social participation, independent living, mobility and well-being. The awards are open for entry now and the closing date is 15 October. These global awards are open to businesses of all sizes. This one isn’t just about start-ups.

ict ktn logoAs part of this initiative, Vodafone Foundation Smart Accessibility Awards, ICT KTN and the UK-based Mobile Monday chapters have teamed up to bring you a series of half-day workshops looking at this area specifically which will run in September and early October. Registration is now open for the workshops in Edinburgh and Belfast and we’ll have details in the next few days about further workshops in London, Manchester, Amsterdam, Madrid and hopefully Frankfurt.

Sign up here to attend the workshops in either Edinburgh or Belfast.

And if you’re interested in attending one of the other workshops, please add your name on this form and we’ll notify you when the registration goes live for the workshop you’re interested in.

A bit more about the workshops…

The goal of the workshops is to inspire and enable application developers to create useful tools for people who have visual, aural, cognitive or other impairments by helping them understand and empathize what life is like for people in this situation. This empathy and understanding is created by bringing together developers and accessibility advocates and people with impairments to exchange information, and allowing developers to experience simulations of being impaired.

App developers who have had the opportunity to experience as directly as possible, first or second-hand, what it means to live with specific impairments, and have been put in touch with the larger community around accessibility, create more effective apps to better the quality of life for everyone. The result not only helps people with major disabilities, but also people with minor or temporary impairments, for example due to ageing or illness.

The format of the workshops will be discussion based and there will be technical people on hand to answer specific questions related to Android, but there will be different speakers and contributors to reflect the local scene.

In planning these workshops, I’ve been researching this area as it’s not one I knew anything about. But I’ve come across some fantastic case studies and personal stories so I think the workshops will be both interesting and useful if you’re into any kind of mobile app development. And it has really made me think differently about what accessibility means as it’s all to easy to think that it’s just about severe disabilities. My plan is to share some of the workshop findings and case study examples here, time permitting.

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