The Space Apps hackathon held by Azavea at the ExCITe Center in April 2012
To take web proliferation further, the access conversation should include those with physical disabilities and aging residents as much as it involves infrastructure and literacy. In celebration of the National Day of Civic Hacking, Technical.ly Philly and Philadelphia Link will be hoping to do that.
On the weekend of Fri. May 30-June 1 at our University City offices in the First Round Capital building, #Hack4Access will be a weekend hackathon devoted to these issues, serving as a followup to a series of events that the Philadelphia Link, a coalition of groups focused on aging and disability issues, kicked off during Philly Tech Week.
#Hack4Access will welcome software developers, designers, hardware hackers and subject matter experts, including those who face these challenges. This is in place of the annual Random Hacks of Kindness hackathon.
What might one work on during #Hack4Access? Technical.ly Philly talked through some projects with Faith Haeussler, a Philadelphia Link county coordinator.
- TRANSIT ACCESSIBILITY: Government-backed mass transportation agencies are heavily mindful of access, but with all the interesting transit data work, there might be something worth digging into with SEPTA’s CCT Transit bus network regarding availability.
- ROWHOME ACCESSIBILITY CHECKLIST: Like other older cities, Philadelphia’s old (and beautiful) housing stock was largely built before there was widespread awareness for making structures available to people with physical limitations. There are best practices and work-arounds that are being developed that could be codified for interested construction developers or home renovators.
- CAPTCHA ALTERNATIVES: Anti-spam measures are often troubling for those with visual impairments, so it would be interesting to explore clever solutions to provide spam-protection.
- PARKS ACCESSIBILITY APP: Similar to the above, imagine a step-by-step tool that could walk anyone through a way of measuring the accessibility of public parks — or other facilities — to give, post and share grades.
- RATINGS SYSTEM FOR CARE-PROVIDERS: Yelp doesn’t quite yet feel like the place for rating community-based or in-home services for those who need care.
- COMMUNITY-KNOWLEDGE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS: What might it look like to provide anonymized information to city or other resources about at-home accessibility issues that might help first responders know about additional potential needs — wheelchair users or an aging homeowner with mobility challenges. This could lead to interesting exploration of electronic medical records.
- HARDWARE HACKS: While the above are in the software space, we’d love to hear ideas for projects that might take on accessibility challenges. Attendees will have the opportunity to get access to the nearby Dept. of Making + Doing makerspace. We’re thinking about the HAXBOX video game controller alternative.
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