Updated: Dec 9, 2020
During a warm September, where the pandemic was starting to hit again most European countries, in London (and remotely all over the World), people were envisioning ways to create more accessible and inclusive solutions.
I’m talking about the online Accessibility Hackathon 2020, hosted at University College London (UCL) from 7 to 13 September 2020.
The Accessibility Hackathon, organized by the UCL Technology Society, promotes accessible technological innovation and research among the UCL community. Since 1995, the society has been bringing the best minds at UCL together by hosting hackathons, workshops and other events.
The UCL Technology Society kindly invited me to give a talk (check the YouTube link if you are curious about it) on Inclusive Design, how we can design more inclusively with people.
Amazed by this opportunity I prepared a little showcase of research projects I did during my past experiences at Technological University Dublin as well as at Stanford University.
The talk was one of the opening events which launched the Project Impactive, the core activity of the Accessibility Hackathon. The scope of the project was to create teams of students and researchers to develop customized equipment, as well as design and build prototypes for collaborative organizations to mass manufacture and provide to their clients more accessible solutions.
Project Impactive is a famous initiative, awarded with the Princess Diana Award for the impact on the community.
Despite the online format, which doesn't generally offer the best way to engage with people, this was a great experience to share some insights of my projects and to connect with people from several countries.
One of the major satisfactions from this talk was not only to share my experiences with younger researchers, but to receive afterwards several messages from some of the participants of the Hackathon to mentor them during the following phases of the project.
“Yaning and I are very grateful for the call last week - we really benefited from hearing your thoughts and hope we can act on them soon.”
“Thank you very much for your kind and encouraging email! Your support really means a lot to us. We will surely keep you updated on any further developments.”
Divya & Yaning
Sometimes we get too busy and overwhelmed with our daily routine and work, however, I strongly encourage every designer, researcher or experienced person to give his or her own availability to “give back” and share experiences.
Giving back is a way to help people to grow, to support them in their life development path, but also an opportunity to grow together and remember to always “put our-self into others’ shoes” as a way to be grateful for what we have and what we have done.
After all, it's priceless to learn while you teach.