app app
mobility mobility
vulnerable citizens

Opening up indoor beacon data to digital navigation for vision impaired citizens

Team: Wayfindr

Wayfindr tested, developed and stimulated new digital navigation apps, which empowered vision impaired citizens to independently navigate London using their smartphone, using an Open Standard designed by experts and vision impaired users. Working with London Underground, they were able to make existing beacon data accessible to developers for creating new digital navigation apps for indoor environments. The experiment opened up unmapped public spaces, such as London Underground, shopping malls and hospitals.

The Team

Image by AbilityNet.

We want to better understand how to develop accessible, open and innovative navigation services at scale for public transport and other venues. Having these services in place will give vision impaired people the confidence to navigate the city independently.

Process & Experiment Outcome

Vision-impaired users discussing ideas with hackathon teams.

WalkPal, the winning hackathon team.

Wayfindr in action, testing the prototype at Euston underground station.

Lessons Learned

  • The five teams participating in the hackathon came up with a wide range of ideas, tackling the challenge of independent travel in different ways. The main lesson all teams took away, and which was aptly demonstrated by our winners, was the importance of user-centred design when developing solutions for people with vision impairment. The winning team, WalkPal, designed their solution around this principle and took advantage of the expertise of some vision-impaired commuters who came to the hackathon to share their experiences.

More about Wayfindr

What Happened & What’s next?

  • Accessibility Award Winner at the Tech 4 Good Awards (2016).
  • Innovation Award Winner at the Vision Pioneer Awards (2016).
  • The Smart Places, Digital Agenda Winner at the Impact Awards (2017).
  • Winner of the Mobile World Capital d-Lab tech challenge, Empowering People with Disabilities through Mobile Technologies (2017).

Wayfindr website

Blog posts & Publications


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