A digital toolkit for adults with learning disabilities

Co-designing with Camphill Village Trust

We're excited to be co-designing a digital co-production tool with Camphill Village Trust and Learn to Lead. Together we are exploring how digital communication tools could support the Learn to Lead model of co-production.

Camphill are an inspiring charity offering a safe home, life skills and a connected community for adults with learning disabilities.

They came to us with an idea to create a digital version of the Learn to Lead toolkit, which would enable residents of Camphill Village Trust communities to connect with others, co-produce projects, share information, activities and experiences.

But what do residents with varying levels of learning disabilities actually want and need? And how can an App help them achieve their goals?

Last week I (Kathryn) travelled to the wonderful Taurus Crafts Centre in Lydney to facilitate our first co-design day with residents from Camphill Village Trust communities in Gloucestershire.

The GOTIT team (thats what they call themselves) started the day by mapping out different types of technology they use and why. They considered and compared how they use different websites, apps, tech products and digital services available to them. They then each created their own “technology world” and shared their experiences with the whole group.

Later in the day, the group shared ideas on why they might need a digital toolkit and who else might use it.

We discussed important design and usability considerations, for example it must enable participants to use symbols, icons, pictures and sound for expression as writing is sometimes difficult, and together we developed a simple five point design brief as a starting point.

1.Simple Wording. 2. Big buttons & few choices, 4.Visual & colourful, 5. Safe to use. 6. Make my life easy!

As with all our discovery workshops, the day was very creative and hands on. The group worked well together to create and propose site maps, user journeys and functional requirements that will inform the next stage design.

Some initial ideas included “interactive hexies” containing information including words, images, symbols, sounds and other media content. The “Thinking Wall” hexie would provide learn to lead facilitators with a digital alternative to the sticky wall.

During the day I was bowled over by the enthusiasm from participants in the workshop. Each of them showed and amazing ability to listen and learn from each other. They seemed keen share ideas and help each other, which bodes well for the future of co-designing our app.

Thank you to Phil Gibson (Camphill Village Trust), Susan Piers-Mantell (Learn to Lead) and the GOT IT team for having me. Watch this space for more project updates over the coming weeks.

June 16, 2015