Accessibility at #ZeroCon18 – Did you know that…

Running this topic for the second time in five years has given us a great opportunity to learn more about accessibility and try to implement the excellent ideas into our own practices. Here are 23 measures we have taken to improve accessibility at the Zero Project Conference 2018 and beyond:

1. Zero Project Report 2018 is produced as an accessible pdf.
2. All Factsheets on Innovative Practices and Policies can also be accessed and downloaded in accessible MS Word.
3. The Zero Project nomination and evaluation forms are available in alternative formats and five languages. A video with captions explains the nomination process for persons with hearing or visual impairments.
4. All sessions (of the Zero Project Conference are captioned and subtitled (a total of 50 on three days in three rooms).
5. The Zero Project Conference Plenary Room is webstreamed live with captioning and sign language interpretation.
6. All PowerPoint presentations are made according to accessibility principles, following strict guidelines provided by the Zero Project team. All are available after the Conference.
7. PowerPoint presentations by all Innovative Practices and Policy-presenters are also recorded as video (MP4) that are accessible to persons who are deaf or blind, with captioning for deaf and hard-of-hearing persons and subtitles read out loud too for visually impaired persons.
8. Those Presentation videos are uploaded to the Zero Project Youtube channel (search for #zerocon18 on Youtube) using the English subtitles. Using Youtube-subtitling technology the captioning can be translated into more than 40 languages.
9. Throughout the Conference, a graphic facilitator will be present in some of the sessions, making the content of these sessions easier to access by her drawings. The graphics are also summarized at the end of each session.
10. All graphics will also be uploaded to on the Zero Project website for easier access to the research content.
11. All videos shown at the Zero Project Conference are presented fully accessible for people who are deaf or blind, in consultation with the Zero Project team.
12. Keynote and other speakers are obliged to submit their speeches in written a few days before the conference to increase the quality of captioning and sign language translations.
13. The Zero Project Conference is working with three different teams of certified sign language interpreters, two in International Sign Language (ISL) and one in American Sign Language (ASL).
14. Induction loops are installed at the reception and info-desks to support persons who are hard of hearing.
15. All Conference facilities are augmented with accessibility features for persons with visual disabilities, especially orientation and security features are added to the venue.
16. A video explains the accessibility of the Zero Project Conference and all its accessibility features for people who are deaf and sign language users. The video is shared on Social Media and also shown at the beginning of the Zero Project Conference.
17. The Zero Project team is organizing accessible hotel rooms for all participants and is available for consulting and support to find accessible venues.
18. All participants with physical and/or visual disabilities are picked up at the airport after their arrival and transferred to their hotels, as well as back to the airport after the Conference, free of charge to participants.
19. Dedicated team members of the Zero Project are assisting participants who are blind and come without assistants, throughout the whole conference.
20. The Zero Project team provides some support also outside the conference venue, especially for blind people who come without assistants, with dedicated team member that can be approached using a helpline.
21. The Zero Project team is actively encouraging peer-support throughout the conferencing using the information of capabilities and needs that are asked for at the registration, especially for all forms of translation and assistance.
22. The Zero Project website is in the process of certification according to WCAG 2.0 AA, one of the first certifications in Austria, jointly with Hilfsgemeinschaft der Blinden und Sehschwachen Österreichs and the OCG (Austrian Computer Society).
23. The accessibility of the Zero Project Conference 2018 is evaluated by Escola de Gente/Brazil and the evaluation used to continuously improve the accessibility of all Zero Project activities.




The story of Fatima Maghzaz, teacher

“I created a little Arabic reading book in sign language.”

My name is Fatima Maghzaz, and I am a teacher at the Fatima Timouria School in the city of Berrchid, Morocco. I currently have ten deaf students in my class of various ages.
Working with deaf students is difficult but fascinating at the same time. Recently, I attended a teacher-training workshop in Rabat, Morocco, conducted by the Institute for Disabilities Research and Training, during which I learned a great deal and received a lot of information that will facilitate my work as a teacher.

I put in a lot of effort and time developing teaching materials for my students. For example, I recently spent almost six months to create a little Arabic reading book, but when I saw the Dictionary and the Publisher in “Moroccan Sign Language Clip and Create” – the software developed by IDRT – I was astounded! If I had that software before, the work I did in six months could have been done in two or three weeks. But, as they say, “It is better late than never.” I can’t wait to get my copy of the next software version release and begin developing other books for my students.

I want to thank Dr. Corinne Vinopol, the Project Director, for her professionalism and kindness and all workshop presenters. You have made my task much easier!


Read more about how IDRT is improving access to education for deaf children in Morocco by reading the factsheet. Corinne Vinopol of IDRT will be presenting at day 2 of the Zero Project Conference 2018 in the session “Sign Language Solutions”.

#ZeroCon18 Awardees Part 3 – Subtitling and captioning, playgrounds and humanitarian aid

This time next week we’ll be well underway with #ZeroCon18! And we still have so much to tell you before that. Here’s part 3 of the blog telling you all about some of the themes being presented at the conference.

Subtitling and captioning

A man with visual impairments using the phone application and his white cane in the shopping centre.

Audio description of movies with “My Dream Companion”

Many innovations help give persons with disabilities get the most from their cinema or theatre visit by a range of inventive techniques. Visually impaired persons in Turkey can benefit from audio description of the film through the “My Dream Companion” app, while visually or hearing-impaired persons can enjoy Broadway shows thanks to a captioning, dubbing and more with GalaPro. In Colombia, two innovative projects are making communication easier: The Ministry of Information and Communications Technology is spearheading a whole raft of accessibility features in cinemas, such as sign language and audio description through “Cine para Todos”, while FENASCOL provides free phone translation “relay” services for hearing impaired persons.

The parallel session on Subtitling and Captioning at the Zero Project Conference takes place on Thursday 22nd February at 13:40 CET.

Inclusive Playgrounds

Inclusive play equipment from MagikMe

A small but dedicated group of innovators are making sure that opportunities for play are inclusive. In Hungary, children can benefit from inclusive playground equipment thanks to MagikMe and in the city of Ra’anana, Israel, children can use country’s first accessible and inclusive playground “Friendship Park”.

The parallel session on inclusive playgrounds takes place on Friday 23rd February at 10:20 CET.

Inclusive Humanitarian Aid

Three young women carrying a woman.

Inclusive evacuation in Aceh, Indonesia

How do you make humanitarian aid accessible? That’s the difficult question that some incredible projects are trying to answer. ADRAD are acting as a catalyst to built new accessible buildings in the 14 areas most affected by earthquake in Nepal,  and FKM BKA are practicing inclusive evacuation strategies following tsunamis and volcanos in Indonesia. These projects certainly have to think “outside the box”.

The parallel session on inclusive humanitarian aid takes place on Thursday 22nd February at 10:50 CET.


The story of Gail Campbell, Chair of “Access Orangeville”

“We now have ramps in both our town pools – and a chairlift.”

As a member of the Orangeville Town Council and Chair of “Access Orangeville,” I am proud to say that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act is being implemented very methodically, such that everyone knows that in the year 2025 our province is going to be totally accessible. It is also being done in a progressive, orderly way so that people are able to accommodate the transition.

I believe the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act is making all Ontarians aware that everyone has the right to enjoy all the services that our province offers. To cite just one example, in our town of Orangeville we now have ramps into both of our pools. We also have a chair lift that can help people with disabilities get into either pool as well as personal flotation devices for every size individual.


Read more about how Ontario is being made accessible by reading the factsheet. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act will be presented on day 3 of the Zero Project Conference at the WHO GATE forum on assistive technology.


How to tune in – #ZeroCon18 – A recap

The Zero Project Conference 2018 begins on Wednesday next week! As our most widely covered conference ever, you can find many different ways of following the action:

  • Live stream – We will be live-streaming the main conference room throughout the entirety of the conference on our Facebook page. Coverage starts at 10:00 CET on Wednesday 21st February.
  • Facebook – Aside from the main live-stream, we will also be posting pictures and video clips of key moments throughout the three days and beyond.
  • Twitter – In tandem with our Facebook posts, we will also be posting media highlights across our Twitter feed.
  • YouTube – Many of the presentations will be uploaded in an accessible format to our YouTube channel, which includes captioning and spoken audio features.
  • #ZeroCon18 hashtag – You may have noticed the hashtag popping up on much of our communication material. Use the hashtag across social media to keep up with the latest from us and our partners.

And please get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you!

Call for abstracts – UD & HEIT

The Universal Design & Higher Education in Transformation Congress is in the final phase of its call for abstracts, with the deadline looming on 19th Jan. Don’t miss your chance to submit your idea which could transform the world through diversity, design and education! Your abstract could be in one of many topic, including community engagement, fashion, healthcare, tourism, teaching, urban design and planning and many more. See the full list on the UDHEIT website.

Good luck!


The story of Zoe Hartman, user of OrCam MyEye

“I can purchase and pay again, read my mail, and use the subway by myself.”

My name is Zoe Hartman, age 25, and I live in Brooklyn. Previously, I was a production assistant in the film industry and hoped to become an assistant director. When I was 22, however, I suddenly lost much of my vision, and it decreased further over the following few months. After a year of tests and misdiagnoses, a biopsy revealed that brain inflammation, from an unknown cause, had damaged my optic nerves.

I learned to use a cane to get around and magnifiers to help me read, but I frequently had to rely on others for assistance – someone who could read small print, for example. Thanks to OrCam MyEye, however, I’ve gone from relying on others to doing things for myself. The OrCam MyEye helps me pay for purchases without relying on someone else to count my money. It also helps me read signs so I can travel on my own. Since having OrCam, I have shopped for groceries, read my mail, and used the subway by myself. I have even gone back to work. I worked on a couple of television shows and have used my OrCam MyEye to read documents and fill out paperwork more quickly – an asset in the fast-paced film industry. I also recently became a reservationist at a restaurant, which I could not have done without OrCam MyEye.

OrCam also helped me return to activities I love. It helps me read menus when out with friends or family and small print on food labels or museum signs. Now that I can read a script, I’m even considering returning to theatre work, a favourite hobby.


Read more about OrCam MyEye by reading the factsheet. OrCam MyEye will be presenting at day 1 of the Zero Project Conference 2018 in the session “Orientation systems for the blind”.



#ZeroCon18 Awardees Part 2 – Rural Development, Map Apps and Buddies

In two weeks’ time we’ll already be underway with the Zero Project Conference. We have over 25 panel or group sessions covering such a wide range of topics and celebrating the excellent work of the 2018 Innovative Practices and Policies. With that in mind, we bring you part 2 of our walk through of the themes we’re dealing with.

Rural Development

A man welding metal

Working in an accessible student workshop in Mozambique

With so many amazing innovations taking place in the melting pots of bustling global cities, the rural areas can often be overlooked. Many innovators seek out those who find themselves cut off from the projects and services that are often taken for granted in major cities. In the South-East Sri Lankan district of Moneragala, people are benefitting from accessing more public buildings, schools, polling stations and religious sites by Uva Provincial Council. Rural communities in Nepal are seeing the benefits of disability-inclusive communities with help from the Karuna Foundation, and in Mozambique young people are enjoying training in accessible student hostels thanks to Young Africa.

The parallel session on accessible rural development takes place at 13:50 CET on Wednesday 21st February.

Orientation Map Apps

A map listing accessible venues

Finding accessible buildings using AXS Maps

An exciting growth area in accessibility of buildings is through the use of “trip-advisor”-style map apps which let you know which venues are accessible. And each with their own unique style! In Japan you can check for steps, accessible toilets and even acceptance of service dogs with Bmaps, or follow the GPS tracking of another user’s trail using Wheelog! In Ireland you can choose between the clear “yes”/”no” system with Access Earth or click all the way through to your accessible hotel with Mobility Mojo. And finally, in the United States, you can join a competitive AXS Mapathon to win awards while assessing whole cities!

The parallel session on orientation map apps takes place at 09:50 on Thursday 22nd February.

Finding Buddies and peers

A group of young persons with and without disabilities at a large outside event

Enjoying festivals with your “Gig Buddies”

People enjoy attending events together and there is a small group of determined projects which focus exactly on that. In the South of the UK, persons with learning disabilities and/or autism are enjoying attending events with their volunteer friends through Stay up Late’s “Gig Buddies” programme. And all across Europe, people are rocking out at concerts and festivals thanks to “Inklusion muss laut sein”.

The parallel session on Finding buddies and peers takes place at 14:40 on Thursday 22nd February.

The Story of Hanufa, Mother of Mim (3) and user of CSF

“Mim can now walk and is trying to speak”

My name is Hanufa, mother of three-year-old Mim. I once had a piece of land with a beautiful house, but everything was swept away by the flooding river. Now I live in a tiny rented house with three children, which is a miserable life.

My daughter Mim has been affected by cerebral palsy since birth. I could not take her to hospital or to a physician for treatment due to lack of money. Before the intervention of the CSF, Mim could not walk, could not speak, and had no hope. But after three months of intervention, she can now walk and is already trying to speak! I believe she will walk normally, speak properly, and will go to school after a couple of more months.

I am very happy to see my child’s development. I am going to Shishu Shorgo (“Children Heaven”) five days a week and they are providing therapeutic services, training for parents on how to manage children with disabilities at home, cleaning and hygiene practices, and orientation on social communication. CSF is the only organization providing services in this rural area. We are blessed that my child is getting these services, but there are lot of children who are not getting any kind of service in other areas.


Find out more about the support CSF are giving for children with disabilities in rural Bangladesh by reading the factsheet.  CSF will be presenting at day 2 of the Zero Project Conference 2018 in the session “Access to Health”.