SociAbility: the path to accessibility

Ryzard Akita
4 min readMay 19, 2020

From November to February, FricanDuo has had the pleasure to work with a start up called SociAbility.

SociAbility is building an app to empower disabled people to explore their communities with confidence, ease and peace of mind by collecting and sharing detailed, reliable and accurate accessibility information for hospitality and retail venues.

We were extremely excited to take this project on, as not only did it align with our values, but it’s also a bad-ass idea 😎.

The objective was to enhance the user experience of the application. Now this sounds simple enough, but with a 3 month time limit and a broad topic of accessibility we needed to create priorities. To define how we would achieve this, we always start a project with a Kickstarter. In these sessions we really drill deep and challenge the brief.

We made some Picasso level drawings (yes that’s me squatting) and with the client, developed very informative notes to help define the product and the expectations from it. We broke down key user journeys and defined the main problems, actions and solutions.

These activities really helped us not only re-identify a brief but also come to an understanding of what the key expectations were from this project. We asked hard questions like: what was the worst case scenario? So we could create a realistic end goal that both parties were happy with.

We split the 3 months into 4 stages: user research, wireframing, validation and design. For the first round of testing we went down to good ole Oxford to speak face-to-face with people who were interested in the development of this application.

Speaking to people prior to creating wireframes is such an important step, because it helps break assumptions and understand real life experiences. We encouraged them to speak honestly and openly about the current application — the pros, the cons and the potential improvements. We also identified their lifestyle habits, such as:

“If this app didn’t exist what other methods would you use to find out the accessibility of a venue?”

Identifying existing solutions is powerful knowledge to have, you can avoid building the same thing twice… or building it worse. A humble application needs to acknowledge it’s strong and weak points and understand what tools it can fall back on, one app can’t solve everything.

Fig 1: Splash screens when someone opens the app for the first time
Fig 2: Initial questions when signing up
Fig 3: The flow for finding a venue and a venue preview page
Fig 4: Profile page

Following on from those conversations we focused on wireframing flows, which we also tested and iterated. We monitored how easily and quickly a user was able to navigate from point a to b. This allowed us to not only improve on positioning, but the wording we used as well. The key factors we focused on in this stage was the onboarding (fig 1 & 2), finding a venue (fig 3) & gamification (fig 4 ).

Read up more on our gamification phase here

All in all, the start to this project was extremely informative. We managed to speak to people with various backgrounds and lifestyles. It played a key factor to where we took the project and we’re truly grateful to those amazing individuals who took the time out of their day to speak to us!

Keep it real, stay accessible.


~ By the way if you’re curious and want to see the designed version check it out on our website.



Ryzard Akita

Design Director and Co-Founder @ Suvera. A digital healthcare organisation helping people manage their long-term conditions, in partnership with their GP.