Haia is for everyone! When the idea came to light, this was one of our key focuses. Many of us enjoyed working from home for a while – avoiding the commute, spending more time with the family, and saving travel costs. Others didn’t enjoy the isolation, and the lack of collaboration and chance encounters it created. This got us thinking. For many people across the country and indeed worldwide, the opportunity to choose between the two doesn’t exist! Getting out of the house to meet others isn’t something that can be easily done and can’t be taken for granted.
In doing some research, we learned that in a Unison survey of more than 4,000 disabled people across the UK, many felt working from home during the coronavirus pandemic improved their wellbeing and more than half felt they'd benefit from doing so in the future.
Imagine, as someone with physical accessibility issues, how it felt to have the whole world open up to you in your home. Having that taken away when in-person events restart seems cruel!
Our starting point for Haia was making it intuitive as well as inclusive. Even something as simple as following a meeting link and entering an access code isn’t all that easy for everyone. Different accessibility issues meant that learning a new skill such as online attendance for events was impossible. How many of us who don’t have accessibility issues have been stuck on mute?
An accessible platform will work for the majority, while ensuring we don’t create a minority who get left out. Features for people with sight or hearing difficulties and those who speak different languages shouldn't be an add-on, they should be included from the beginning, and that’s what we’re doing.
So, with restrictions now easing and face to face meetings becoming possible again, the question is how much of our lockdown habits will stay with us?
When the pandemic is behind us, we’ll want to hold on to some of the genuine benefits that have emerged. These include the ability to work and attend events in an online environment for convenience and importantly for environmental reasons.
Of course, we’re not going to stand still - like any other platform we’ll keep developing and learning. What would make a difference to you when you attend online or hybrid events? Let us know in the comments below.
And you can become part of the Haia family…
You can become one of our beta testers as we get ready for our launch in the autumn. Click here