Join Mozilla’s and Stanford’s open design sprint for an accessible web

CC photo by Complete Streets via Flickr

Millions of people have disabilities, ranging from hearing impairments from birth to visual impairments from old age. As much of our lives increasingly take place online the absence of accessibility contributes to the exclusion or partial exclusion of many people from society. Mozilla’s mission is to keep the web open, for everyone.

Working to include everyone has led to innovations that benefit others too. Take curb cuts, the sloping curb sections that connect sidewalks to the street. Curb cuts were originally introduced by disability activists for people in wheelchairs, but they were soon eagerly welcomed by people using bicycles, delivery carts and strollers. We believe innovations for accessibility tend to produce a corresponding electronic curb-cut effect.

We are looking for volunteers with first hand experience with accessibility needs, creative thinkers, designers, and engineers to work together to re-imagine accessibility for everyone while surfing the web.

Fill out this short form to join the design drive Monday to Friday, Aug 28 to Sep 1. Participation will involve working with a small team for about an hour/day.

The decentralized design process

The Open Innovation Team at Mozilla and Stanford have partnered to explore how a decentralized design process (a design process where people are not in the same physical location) can provide a way to innovate and include more diverse perspectives in the design process. The “hive” approach, pioneered by Stanford, will be used in this experiment to test how decentralized design process can help inspire and create a better accessible web for all!

How it works

You will work online in small teams with other participants across the globe for about an hour each day from Monday to Friday, Aug 28-Sep 1. You will be grouped based on your background, timezone and availability. We will go through the Stanford d.school’s design process together- spending a day on each of the phases: inspire, define, ideate, prototype, and test. We will gradually change team membership to give you a chance to interact with a diverse group of people over the course of the design sprint. We will provide instructions and deliverables for each phase.

This will be a highly collaborative process, where you will work with interesting people and disability experts while practicing the different stages of the design thinking process for a real world product used by millions of people. Each team will have a team-lead who will facilitate conversations. You can apply to be a team-lead on the signup form. Priority will be given to people who have a disability.

The final submissions to the design drive will be evaluated by the Firefox Test Pilot and the Accessibility teams, and go through a round of user testing. The Test Pilot team will evaluate the best contributions and determine if they are ready to be tested by hundreds of thousand users. Test Pilot is a platform that allows Mozilla to launch experimental features for Firefox to general release users and enables Mozilla to learn in detail how these features are used. Learnings from Test Pilot help Mozilla make decisions about Firefox and other products. So this could be the first step towards getting your contribution into the official Firefox browser!

Get involved!

The design sprint drive will take place over Slack, a text-based instant messaging service, and participation will take 5 sessions of roughly one hour each from Monday to Friday (Aug 28-Sep 1).

To participate you are required to respect other participants and follow the Mozilla community participation guidelines. If you have any questions you can ask us on Twitter at @MZOpenSprint or email firefoxaccessibility@cs.stanford.edu.

Join us making the web accessible for everyone!