Inclusive Design A11Y Hackathons

#A11yCAN Logo

At #A11yCAN Inclusive Hackathons, participants will form teams and then, with some help from our facilitators, come up with a solution to your choice of design problems that have been collected from the disability community. You don’t have to bring anything but your experience and perspective and we will supply the rest from markers and sticky notes to circuits and 3D printers. Participants will be able to gain skills in a range areas: policy design, interface design, software/application specifications, rapid prototyping tools, 3D printers and software development toolkits as they develop their innovative approaches.


Whether you are just getting started or confident in your knowledge of accessibility (a11y), Inclusive Design A11Y Hackathons are for you!

#A11yCAN Hackathons are an opportunity for students, designers, artists, developers, usability, accessibility, and other professionals with and without disabilities to share and collaborate in developing creative strategies to overcome barriers to accessibility.

If you have an interest in collaborating with others to innovate and want to make your world more accessible and inclusive then an A11Y hackathon is for you!



  • Tinker, build, design and experiment in a safe zone
  • Democratization of innovation—anyone can get involved
  • Collaborate across boundaries
  • Fun, creative problem solving
  • Learn new skills, have fun, build a community



A11y is shorthand for Accessibility and when paired with Inclusive Design it refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments that can be used by people with disabilities. Accessible design generally benefits all users when it is integrated into the design process from the start. For example, consider the audio stop announcements on Toronto’s public transportation or ramps at building entrances. Both were designed for accessibility needs: one for the deaf community and the other for chair users, yet both have much farther reaching effect—just think how many people benefit from these accessible and inclusive designs.

A Bit More About Inclusive Design

Digital technologies and networks that connect people make it possible to create adaptable products and services that fit our human differences. Inclusive design can be seen as accessibility that benefits everyone and doesn’t require one-size-fits-all.
Designers can’t be experts in everyone’s requirements. Digital tools and networks can democratize design, development and production. This means that we can become experts in our own unique needs and participate in designing a system that will fit us. Inclusive design engages a diversity of perspectives including the end user of the design.

A11y: The technical community refers to accessibility using the numeronym a11y, where the number 11 replaces the number of letters omitted. Most of us just say the word “ally”.


#A11yCAN : October 12 and 13 from 9:00 am to 5 pm.


Address: OCAD University. 49 McCaul St. Toronto

Toronto, Ontario. We are looking for another great event to help host our next A11Y hackathon. If you are interested in working with us please contact

Event Dates

The next Hackathon is at the Designing Enabling Economies and Policies (DEEP) 2016 Conference and the IIDEX 2016 National Summit on Accessibility. This year we will explore inclusive design as it relates to play. The Hackathon is free but participation will be limited to 30 participants so register now.

The Hackathon will stress the power of inclusive design thinking to catalyse great design, the relationship of design to accessibility standards and regulations, and the convergence of digital with designed elements as a springboard for solving accessibility problems.

Play is a human domain that touches on all areas of design. The Hackathon will focus on Inclusive and Intergenerational Play as a way to encompass, engage, and integrate the many forms of design:

  • architectural design: playgrounds, public spaces, etc.;
  • industrial design: toys, etc.;
  • UX design: gaming,etc.;
  • Internet of Things (IoT) design:  the intersection of all of the above and smart toys.

The Hackathon will be hosted as part of the DEEP 2016 Conference in October. The outcomes will be showcased on the exhibitor floor at IIDEXCanada 2016.

All of the Hackathon participants will get a free pass for IIDEXCanada 2016.




Join as an individual or come as a team.
We need you if you are a:

  • sketcher – capture ideas in creative scribbles
  • listener and documenter
  • teacher
  • tweeter
  • screenreader expert
  • onscreen keyboard expert
  • audio designer
  • gamer or game designer
  • industrial designer
  • alternative learner
  • magnification expert
  • text to speech expert
  • description master
  • devil’s advocate – judiciously add friction to spark ideas
  • HTML5 dabbler or coder
  • cat herder so we pull together not apart
  • nagger or timekeeper
  • technical trouble shooter
  • markup aficionado
  • file converter
  • shy, quiet, brilliant type
  • facilitator — make sure everyone contributes!
  • coach – keep people on task when energy drifts
  • listener and distiller — use your corpus callosum to make disparate connections
  • code hacker – make the designs happen
  • design thinker — you know not only what you like, but what inspires and delights others
  • natural organizer — you see how to get from point A > B without pushing too quickly or moving too fast and missing opportunities
  • daydreamer — bring in out-of-the-box ideas
  • what if’er — don’t let the group miss anything
  • or have other skills and talents…


  • financial
  • equipment
  • promotional goods
  • marketing


Our next hackathon is at OCAD University at 49 McCaul on Oct. 12-13. Please register now because space is limited.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Will you bring a guest from another generation to participate with you? (required)
yesnodon't know

Comments, Special Requests, or Accessibility Needs (such as Dietary Restrictions, or Accessibility Accommodations)



Ignite Imagination. The campaign for OCAD University

Metatecture Logo


Toronto Laser Services Logo