Inclusive Design A11Y Hackathons

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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”.


Saturday August 26 from 10 am to 8 pm


Address: OCAD University. 49 McCaul St. Toronto

Event Dates

The next Hackathon is part of BIG IDeA. We will be hosting an exciting Inclusive Design challenge as part of the Maker Festival (from Jul. 8-9th). Our event will be on August 26 at 49 McCaul.  Everyone is welcome sign up to learn more.




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 the Open Gallery – OCAD U – 49 McCaul Street, Toronto ON.

Saturday August 26 from 10 am to 8 pm

Please register now because space is limited.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Which Hackathon or Inclusive Design Challenge do you want to sign up for?

I would like to be informed about upcoming Design Challenge Events

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



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