The Initiative for Digital Public Infrastructure at UMass Amherst tapped us to help design two innovative new apps, GOBO and Freq. iDPI wanted accessibility to be centered from the very beginning of the design process.
GOBO and Freq
The Initiative for Digital Public Infrastructure
Designing Accessible Social Media Clients
GOBO is a groundbreaking social media client that aims to unify posts from various social media platforms, like Threads, Blue Sky, Reddit, and Mastodon, into a cohesive and accessible interface. The tool’s primary goal is to create a standardized and inclusive user experience for individuals interested in diverse content and topics. By focusing on collaboration and pre-emptive accessibility considerations, the team aimed to create a more inclusive and user-friendly platform. One of the key features of GOBO is its capability filtering, which allows users to customize their feed based on their areas of interest and preferred news sources. Users can prioritize content related to specific topics, events, or interests, providing them with a tailored and relevant social media experience.
In addition we helped with the design and accessibility testing for Freq, an app similar to Letterboxd but for music enthusiasts. The platform incorporates a social media component, challenging the team to think beyond the conventional one-on-one relationship. They recognized that certain elements, such as inaccessible buttons, could hinder accessibility for some users.
Freq provided various features that encouraged active engagement among users. They offered the ability to create music collections, review albums, and facilitated discussions among like-minded individuals by creating groups dedicated to music conversations. It's important to note that Freq isn’t primarily designed for music listening; rather, it serves as a platform for music enthusiasts to socialize, connect, and exchange ideas about their shared interests.
Our designers and accessibility tester spearheaded a collaborative design process, where they constantly described the interface, patterns, and content to each other. This dialogue fostered a deeper understanding of how users with different abilities might interact with the platform, thus guiding the design decisions.
One innovative feature introduced with Freq was the concept of an "Audio Profile." Instead of merely displaying the music users liked, they encouraged users to introduce themselves with an audio recording, sharing the kind of music they enjoy. This personal touch aimed to foster a more engaging and inclusive user experience. In the pursuit of a whole new experience, the team drew inspiration from Ax con DQ presentations, where they learned that isolating a user experience to their disability would not capture the full picture. Instead, they focused on subtle and effective enforcement of accessibility principles without forcefully pushing it onto users.
P.O. Box 961436
Boston, MA 02196