Unlockphilly Team Hacks For Access and Wins 1st Prize

Subject matter experts and Unlockphilly team members from left German Parodi, James Tyack, Clark Matthews, Tim Wisniewski, Jim Smiley and Sheila Waples
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The Unlockphilly project gained new team members, prototyped a  number of exciting new features and won first prize at the recent Hack4Access Hackathon.

Faith Haeussler from Philadelphia Link and organizer of Hack4Access presenting ideas
Hack4Access organizer Faith Haeussler, Philadelphia Link presenting ideas to the project teams at the hackathon kick-off

The Hackathon provided a really unique opportunity for developers to pair up with subject matter experts and end users in the field of accessibility for people with disabilities.

I personally felt very proud to see a project that I’d worked on mostly on my own gain new team members, more visibility and make progress towards it’s goal to raise visibility of accessibility challenges.

Requirements were gathered at the beginning of the hackathon for features that people really need via contributions from subject matter experts; and the really cool thing was that these experts worked alongside coders during the weekend to produce some incredible results.

Subject matter experts and Unlockphilly team members from left German  Parodi, James Tyack, Clark Matthews, Tim Wisniewski, Jim Smiley and Sheila Waples
Subject matter experts and Unlockphilly team members. From left German Parodi, James Tyack, Clark Matthews, Tim Wisniewski, Jim Smiley and Sheila Waples

It was a wonderfully collaborative and rewarding experience! Here are some of the features we demonstrated:-

  • Enhanced station information that enables people to familiarize themselves with accessibility features before arriving at the station; plus example video walkthrough – Clark Matthews.
  • Elevator outage history data API making use of data we have collected from SEPTA (the Philadelphia transit company) over prior months; and D3 visualizations for each station showing outage duration – Chris Alfano and James Tyack.
  • Accessible apartments mapped alongside accessible  places – Dave Walk and Sheila Waples.
  • Accessible trip planning with Google directions API – Jim Smiley. Read more about Jim’s experience at the hackathon and more about the accessible trip planning on his blog http://jimsmiley.us/2014/06/29/notes-hack4access-part-national-day-civic-hacking/

Our final presentation walked through the project and new features:-

 

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