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This report evaluates the design and development of a prototype Peer Support Platform that aimed to address the information, linkages and capacity (ILC) building needs of people with low vision and blindness.

Consistent with the research literature, our user community survey established that people with low vision and blindness face persistent challenges in a) accessibility of digital information as well as spaces, venues and transport, b) overcoming isolation and managing social connections. The prototype platform bundled four core features that move toward addressing the needs expressed in the user community survey, and respond directly to input by co-design participants. Designing technologies with rather than simply for people with disabilities is essential for successful social inclusion outcomes; but as we found, it requires careful planning and a considered process.

The evaluation concludes that overall the co-design trajectory from discovery through to development helps to achieve difficult information access and social inclusion objectives established for the peer support platform in line with the ILC goals. Future steps in scaling such a platform will be successful if they continue to consider user needs through co-design, and involve the voices of people with low vision and blindness in both the development process and live platform management practices.

Transferrable ideas:

  • Co-designing technology can be an effective way to improve accessibility and social inclusion for people living with disabilities.
  • Successful co-design means having clear inclusion goals while being flexible enough to co-learn and adapt to needs.
  • Manage the potentially competing requirements of agile software development sprints and human centred design by allowing substantial time for discovery.
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