Accessibility Hackathon

Our sponsors

Participating charities

What’s it about?

Do you love coding?   Do you want to enhance lives?   Do you want to have fun?

Participate in the Accessibility Hackathon and join leading charities in understanding and tackling the challenges and needs of people with varying accessibility issues. Envision your ideas, work in an inspirational and collaborative environment to create apps and products that will improve lives.

This is your chance to make a difference while doing what you are best at.

Who can participate?
Developers, designers, budding entrepreneurs, SMEs in accessible technology and anyone inspired by the cause

When is the Hackathon?
Saturday 8 – Sunday 9 June 2013

Where is the Hackathon?
Central Working, Google Campus

Prove your mettle as a developer and win exciting prizes.

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Event Blog


Read our event story in Storyify, click the LINK.

Photos from the event



Participants and their developed Applications

Application Name Group Members Description
Soundbyte James O'halloran
Emma Winston
James Wither
Jaroslaw Kasperkiewicz
Hearing aid for Android
Macmillapp Sanjay Poyzer
Matt Zeunert
Deepak Bhati
Luke Heron (Barclays FTE)
Diary for cancer sufferers. Records mood and effects of medication. Reminders for medication.
Say What You Mean Lorenzo Barasti App for visually impaired people & movement restricted by using voice commands as an extension to Chrome where the user says a word to search for content within the page.
LibraryAccessible++ Francesco Mattia An iOS developer, he made some common libraries have accessible features like iCarousel to create awareness among developers. These are iOS native libraries.
Inclusion Nick Palmer
Robert Deas
Chris Smith
Notification app for office communication - informal notifications like going for coffee -for people who are hard of hearing.
Vision for Blind People Hasan Azizul Haque
Thura Z. Maung
Web service takes an image location and detects faces (male/female & age) and background scenary and items (like pets). Also creating a sample Facebook application. It generates a description commentary about the picture.
Leap Motion Accessibility Controller Michal Stefanow Help people with limited mobility; e.g. stiff hands. Developed a Chrome extension. Uses a USB device Leap Motion (new device not released)
Elephants - Ears for Everyone Prathap Chandran
Tunji Jabitta
Julien Bouteloup
Alejandro Saucedo
Real time voice recognition and transcription. Ideally wanted to use Google Glasses - but no public API.
Touch SMS Aidan McEvoy
Fabrizio Sabatini
Receives and sends SMS messages using morse code as vibrations on Android mobile.
Cancer Diary Hywel Carver
Sam Jewell
Diary helps cancer sufferers who are going through chemotheraphy. Keep track of mood, fatigue, food (can store photos). Set yourself targets. Gameification around self-rewards. Test results. Doctors notes. Red Blood Count tracker. Extensible so you can track other things like weight. Set reminders.
Gesture Assist Fatos Ismali
Amir Rushiti
Edd Harpham
Enables people with motor disabilities to interact with mobile tablet devices more easily. Using simple guestures and voice recognition.
Real Assisstance Alok Matta
Andrea Wier
Vicky Gohil
Help visually impaired people explore new places. First part of application works with wearable devices (Google Glass and Pebble watches). You could stream what your glasses see and someone online could guide. Lets people safely explore new places.
Food for Thought Veronika Jermolina
David Grigoryan (works for a vendor that Barclays uses)
Jakub Stonaveski
Alessandra Paglialonga
Helps older people stay independent longer. Especially people in earlier stages of dementia. Help them with eating. Helps with cooking and reminds them to eat. Makes sure they eat regularly and healthly.
Relataives can track progress.
Reminders to turn off the stove.
Memory Lane Wai Kien Use Flickr to help people with dementia to help jog their memories with memorable locations. Praveen, Enjapuri (Barclays Contractor)
Jason Grant
Platform for photography awards. Goal is to make it at least accessible.
Scam (Smart Computational Assistive Management) Muzz Lakhani
Craig Brett
Samuel Williams
Appeals to multiple disability issues. First target is someone in care situation with varied challenges. Not an organisational view (i.e. care home) but user/carer focused. Idea is that tasks can be assigned and put on calenders/task lists and progress monitored.
Real issue that data is not standard and tracked across care - so very little analytical data for use.
Need for more accessible IDEs for developers.
Memory Box Daniel Grant
James Lethem
Caroline Nguyen
Use Flickr to help people with dementia to help jog their memories with memorable locations.
Android Accessibility Will Rayton Variation on a magnifier. Uses a very large image that can be zoomed.
Furrow & Code-Ray Florian Rathgeber
Duncan Mackenzie
Furrow is a restricted private network for trusted family & friends to solve different accessibility problems. For example, sharing private moments with a relative who has alzheimer's, private network to raise alarm in case of danger. Or just invite your best mates over for tea. Emphasising trust and privacy.
2nd App is designed to let visually impared people code. Letting them hear the structure the code (like screen readers). Easy ways to create code.

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Win Exciting Prizes!

1st prize
16 GB Samsung S4 mobile
2nd prize
16 GB Nexus 7 Tablet
3rd prize
Pebble e-paper watch

Each of the above winners will also receive £1500 Rackspace Cloud Services credit over 3 months.

But more than anything the winner gets a chance-of-a-lifetime to be mentored by Tech experts and see the winning app actually go into production.

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CW @ Google Campus?
4-5 Bonhill Street
London EC2A 4BX

+44 (0)20 7881 7113

Central Working website

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Network with others to form teams. Use the shout-out to recruit team members. The maximum number in a team is four.

The coding period runs from 10:30 Saturday until 15:00 on Sunday afternoon. Make sure to fill out a team sheet and begin to prepare presentations for the pitch.

Saturday 8 June


, breakfast and teams formed


Opening brief


Briefings by charities/disability groups & Quickblox app demo


Brainstorming and team building




Design, coding and development



16:00 on

Through the night! – Design, coding, development and production
Code until late. Code all night.

Sunday 9 June




Design, coding, development and production


‘Stop Coding’ called, demonstrations (3 mins per group)




Felicitation of winners


Event ends

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Mary Anne

Mary-Anne Rankin
Founder, Mary-Anne Rankin Consultants

Mary-Anne specialises in helping corporates deliver inclusive customer services. She has a deep understanding of the issues experienced by disabled and older consumers when trying to use multi-channel customers services and is able to help to identify, and suggest ways of removing barriers which may prevent some people from accessing goods and services.

Involving her panel of over 400 disabled and older people, Mary-Anne’s consultancy carries out consumer research including mystery shopping, user testing new customer service equipment and self -service terminals, online surveys and mind-changing events.

She is a champion for inclusive design and her experience enables her to provide consultancy at a strategic level, addressing every stage of the customer journey from concept design to customer satisfaction.

John Stevenson

John Stevenson
Developer Advocate at Heroku and Salesforce

John is a Developer Advocate at Heroku and Salesforce and an active organiser of many technical communities in London. He runs workshops, hackathons and speaks on technical topics including open source projects, developer tools, continuous delivery, TDD and BDD practices and declarative (functional) programming (Clojure). John also helps individuals, teams and organisations become more effective using lean and agile practices. He is a strong advocate of group learning and encourages others to get involved with the community for their own personal growth. In his spare time, John likes to cycle quite a lot (200-400km) on a weekend if he is not too busy learning.

Andrew Witney

Andrew Witney
CIO Corporate and Investment Banking, Wealth and Investment Management (EMEA), Barclays

Andrew was appointed Chief Information Officer (CIO) Corporate Banking, CIO Corporate and Investment Banking, Wealth and Investment Management – Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in December 2010. He is responsible for setting the overall strategic direction for the function in terms technology, employees, and processes.

Prior to this role, Andrew was the Chief Operating Officer for Banking Operations and Technology at the Investment Banking division – Barclays, where he worked for six years in a range of senior roles including Head of Technology for foreign exchange, money markets, emerging markets and banking operations. Prior to joining Barclays, Andrew worked in senior technology roles at a major investment bank.

Andrew is the Host of the Disability Listening Group, UK at Barclays, and he is an active member of Business Disability Forum. He also supports several charities including AbilityNet. He is a ‘pilotlighter’ using his skills, expertise and experience as required for the advancement of the vision and goals of Pilotlight’s many charity partners.

Paul Smyth

Paul Smyth
Head of IT Accessibility for Barclays Bank

Paul Smyth is the Head of IT Accessibility for Barclays Bank, tasked with identifying and addressing the technological barriers that disabled or elderly customers and staff face in accessing the bank’s products, services and systems. Being blind Paul is acutely aware of the physical, technological and attitudinal barriers people with disabilities face on a daily basis.

Paul has been in Barclays for ten years since joining as a graduate and has worked in a range of Finance, Risk and Treasury roles prior to his current position. Paul is also the chair of the REACH disability internal staff network Accessibility group, focused on improving accessibility of the bank’s sites and systems that customers and colleagues use. He has been involved in a number of accessible banking initiatives in recent months such as talking cash machines, high visibility personalised debit cards, frontline staff disability etiquette training videos, accessibility enhancements to the online banking website and helping create an accessible Barclaycard mobile banking app.

Paul has a degree in Management Sciences, as well as being a Chartered Accountant and Corporate Treasurer. He is a martial arts enthusiast and gadget geek. He is married with two children.

Judging Criteria

1. User Experience and presentation
Is the app simple, well-designed, and easy to use by non-technical users, providing easy access to relevant content?

2. Accessibility
Is the app usable by and useful to people with accessibility issues?

3. Sustainability
How likely is the app to survive beyond the hackathon? Is this a viable app for final production and use? Is the idea promising enough to warrant sustained development, attention and collaboration with a charity?

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Gary Redfern-Gray

Gary Redfern-Gray

Gary Redfern-Gray is an Accessibility Specialist at RNIB is blind and has worked for RNIB for 15 years. Advancements in mobile technology particularly voice over functions have transformed daily life for Gary.

His first hand knowledge is invaluable, and he is passionate about ensuring that developers write apps that meet the needs of blind and partially sighted people.

Blind and partially sighted people across the globe routinely encounter apps that could be life-transforming - if only they could use them.

Gary has therefore contributed a chapter on accessibility to the Mobile Developer's Guide to the Galaxy - This publication contains useful pointers and simple-to-implement ideas to ensure that you can build an accessible App.

Ian Rutter

Ian Rutter
Age UK

Ian is the Senior Manager of Age UK’s Engage Business Network: a network established to help businesses understand demographic change and the opportunities this change represents. Advantage comes through greater understanding of the over 50s consumer, and the benefits of adopting an inclusive approach to the design and delivery of products and services.

A graduate in Architecture, Ian spent many years in marketing and as a software consultant before becoming Creative Director of a digital marketing agency. His expertise includes business analysis and strategic planning and he has presented on many subjects from social media through to inclusive design and the needs of the older consumer.

Elizabeth Crisp

Elizabeth Crisp
Macmillan Cancer Support

Elizabeth Crisp was a self employed Management Consultant in data preparation and market research until she was struck down with Oesophagus cancer in 2010. She endured nine weeks of Chemo, surgery that removed her oesophagus and most of her stomach, followed by another nine weeks of exhausting chemo, but her cancer journey had only just begun. Like most cancer patients, Elizabeth has faced a series of challenges from dealing with chemo, learning to eat again, fatigue, memory loss and much more.

David Sloan

David Sloan
Action on Hearing Loss

David Sloan works within Action on Hearing Loss’ Commercial Group; as Interim Head of Business Development. His work involves providing impartial and confidential advice on all matters relating to hearing loss, deafness and tinnitus to businesses & public services across the UK. This work improves the customer and employee experience by providing communication services, tailored awareness training, customised accessibility consultancy services and supplying, installing and maintaining products to help communicate with people with hearing loss.

David has been working on disability matters for over 13 years managing EU funded projects with a particular focus on supported employment and welfare to work. He is committed to ensuring people with disabilities are at the policy table and has an in-depth understanding of how government policy meshes with third-sector work and has been valuable leading on matters of equality & inclusion in the UK and Europe. Previously, he successfully completed a local and European project which examined the Social Return on Investment (SROI) of disability organisations in Northern Ireland; benchmarking the policy & practice with France; Czech Republic and Wales. As an example the participatory methodology this work was recognised by the Social Care Institute for Excellence and referenced by the NI Assembly; Select Committees and BBC Politics.

Robin Spinks

Robin Spinks

Robin currently works as Principal Manager, Digital Accessibility at RNIB where he leads a team of accessibility specialists. Robin has worked in the disability sector for eleven years including four years in international development working with NGOs in Africa, South Asia and the Caribbean establishing a sustainable low cost assistive technology model.

Robin is also Chair of Vision 2020 UK Technology for Life Working Group, a past Chair of Albinism Fellowship and an active member of the World Blind Union Technology Committee.

As a technology enthusiast and a person with low vision, Robin travels extensively promoting the potential of digital technology. His current interests include post PC devices, Smartphones and using technology to improve employability and self advocacy.

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Rackspace was started 14 years ago by three college kids looking to build a company that many could rely on. A couple iterations later and Rackspace has grown into an international, publicly traded company powering more than 200,000 customers worldwide. Rackspace provides its renowned Fanatical Support® across a portfolio of products including Public and Private Cloud, Dedicated Hosting and Hybrid. Rackspace 'Open Cloud' is built on the open-source OpenStack framework, founded by Rackspace and NASA in 2010, and today including over 800 organizations and 6,000 developers around the world. Rackspace haven’t forgotten their roots and remain committed to helping entrepreneurs drive the next generation of businesses.

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How much is it going to cost me to participate?
Not a bean. It’s free.

How can you do all of this without charging a fee?
Through the support of Barclays and Central Working.

Can I spend the entire night at the venue or will I have to burn the midnight oil elsewhere?
The venue will be open for the entire duration of the hackathon. You are welcome to come and go as you please. If you intend to stay overnight, you may wish to bring a sleeping bag and a pillow.

Do I need to bring food?
Nope. You will be fed and watered for the duration, from breakfast on Saturday morning through to the conclusion on Sunday afternoon.

Can I start before the hackathon?
You can prepare wireframes, outlines, or notes but you cannot start any of your design or development until 10.30am on the Saturday of the hackathon.

What resources am I allowed to bring/use during the hackathon?
Anything you need to complete your prototype.

What if I don’t finish the project in the allotted time period?
You will be judged based on the completed features. It will be up to the judges’ discretion to determine how your project ranks against other teams’ projects.

Do I need to bring my own computer?
Yes. We encourage developers to bring their own devices. It is expected that you will demo your project directly on your computer.

Do we work individually or in teams?
You’ll be working in small teams.

Will I be expected to align with a charity?
Yes. The prototype your team creates should address the problems/issues raised in the briefings presented by one of the charities on Saturday morning.

Who owns my ideas?
You and your team will be doing all the hard work so naturally ownership of the IP generated will rest with the teams. It would then up to you and your team to put in place/negotiate any further paperwork which governs how you (and any charities, should you choose to work together) will proceed with the prototype.

Tell me some more about the prizes.
Prizes will be given to winners on the day or shortly after the hackathon. Several mentoring sessions will be arranged for the winning team and further details of the mentoring will be announced on the day.

What will you do with my information?
To register for the hackathon you’ll need to register on the Lanyrd website via the “Register Now” tab and provide your name and contact details. We’ll only use your information for organising the hackathon and telling you about the event and the winners. We hate spam as much as you do so we’ll only contact you when we”ve got something interesting or important to tell you.

Please be aware that the media may decide to cover the hackathon and filming may take place during the hackathon. By participating in the hackathon, you agree to being filmed for promotional purposes and you also agree that information on the event and participants may be provided to the media.

Do I have to sign a contract?
No, but all entrants into the hackathon are deemed to have accepted these terms and conditions, including how we will use your information.

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