Breaking barriers: Allegro’s Accessibility Festival
Recently Allegro hosted an extraordinary event dedicated to spotlighting the crucial aspect of accessibility in the tech industry. The Accessibility Festival became a gathering point for individuals passionate about creating inclusive digital experiences and designing products for all users. It brought together experts from various fields: designers, developers, testers, project managers and welcomed anyone eager to contribute to creating more accessible solutions.
The inspiration behind this event stems from an organic initiative within Allegro, where a collective group endeavored to prioritize the crucial theme of accessibility. Originating from workshops, discussions, and collaborations within the organization, the idea emerged to combine two existing events: Experience Day, which traditionally gathered designers and researchers, and the Accessibility Hackathon, which emphasized the importance of accessibility solutions. Merging these events aimed to intensify the message and create a cohesive, impactful festival.
The festival unfolded over two days, offering a diverse range of activities, from insightful presentations and flash talks to immersive workshops and hackathon. The core focus remained on knowledge exchange, awareness-building, and enhancing accessibility in product design and development.
Participants delved into various tasks and challenges. Workshops aiming to refine accessible design processes were led, meanwhile, developers and testers concentrated on tasks ranging from mobile application accessibility analytics to refining UI elements like accordions for better screen reader compatibility.
The festival was not solely a platform for skill development but a space to immerse oneself in the experiences of differently-abled individuals. It allowed participants to explore real-life simulations, offering insights into challenges faced by those with disabilities. From navigating a space as a visually impaired person to maneuvering through a path in a wheelchair, these hands-on activities fostered a deeper understanding of accessibility concerns.
Crucially, the festival extended its reach beyond Allegro's confines. Inviting external guests and collaborating with professionals specializing in Polish Sign Language (PJM). One of the most memorable moments was the sign language lesson.The lively performance, including a specially composed song, created an unforgettable experience, encouraging wide participation among attendees.
Beyond the event itself, the festival's impact resonated in the larger e-commerce community. Allegro's team showcased their achievements and insights at notable conferences, further highlighting their commitment to inclusive practices and encouraging others to follow suit.
Allegro's Accessibility Festival stands as a testament to the organization's dedication to accessibility, learning, and fostering an inclusive environment. As the essence of this event continues to echo, it serves as an inspiration for innovation and diversity, urging others to embrace accessibility as a fundamental pillar in product development and beyond.
“We feel responsible for what we create and what we offer to the users. Accessibility is the product we want to deliver. We want to provide solutions that will serve all users without exclusion, whether they are seniors, wheelchair users, blind people, or someone with a broken arm, both people with disabilities and those with temporary impairment.”
- says Paulina Materna, Senior Test Automation Engineer, one of the Organisers