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July 26, 2021

Case study: A neuro-inclusive solution for small businesses

by Ross McGee posted in Case Studies, Neurodiversity.

Ayoa | Case study: A neuro-inclusive solution for small businesses
Although there might not be a Planet B out in our solar system currently, within our own world, the wonders of technology have woven an entirely separate one for millions of people to enjoy. The World Wide Web has become a place for endless amounts of information to be stored, discussions to be aired and even seemingly pointless videos to go viral. However, no matter how wide the World Wide Web wraps itself around our planet, for some it doesn’t stretch its arms out to welcome them, because this escape from reality isn’t accessible to everyone. In fact, 70% of UK websites are currently inaccessible to people with various disabilities.

Pruning this web, though, in the hope of transforming it from a dark tangled one to that which is welcoming and accessible for all, is KreativeInc Agency. As an accessibility agency and consultancy, the mother-son team of Caren and Callum Gamble are leading the charge for website design to be accessible to the whole population by 2025.

This extraordinary mission is by no means an easy feat but one they are determined to prevail against and have sought Ayoa to help them with. The inclusion of Ayoa in the everyday workings of KreativeInc Agency is of particular pertinence to the pair given Callum’s own experience of discrimination which led to the formation of their business.

Unfortunately, having graduated from university and acquiring a job that many graduates dream of, Callum only remained with his employer for 3 weeks. However, this was through no fault of his own. The organisation which Callum decided to walk away from forced him to work in ways which did not accommodate his specific needs as someone with autism, even after he disclosed his neurological difference to his line manager. To name a few erroneous actions by Callum’s former employer, they provided insufficient training for the system he was expected to use, they set unrealistic deadlines, and implemented a time-tracking system which exacerbated his time anxiety. As a result, Callum was unable to optimally perform and decided that from both a professional and personal perspective it was best for him to leave.

Moving away from the toxic employment to run his own business has turned out to be the best decision Callum made in so many ways, seeing him be crowned Young Digital Leader of the Year by DigitalCity, and the winner of Genius Within’s prestigious Neurominority Achievement; however, arguably of most importance is that it reaffirmed Callum’s confidence and belief in himself as a talented neurodivergent individual which he wishes others like him will also be able to realise about themselves. This sense of self-belief has been amplified by KreativeInc Agency’s adoption of Ayoa – a neuro-inclusive tool designed to provide a supportive environment for neurodivergent talents to shine.

With the visuals of Ayoa aligning so well with Callum’s mind, it seemed like a “match made in heaven” but nevertheless, KreativeInc Agency were keen to learn more about what truly made Ayoa a neuro-inclusive collaborative digital workspace. Such a creation is a very new concept (so new that Ayoa is the first and only one of its kind) so their decision to investigate Ayoa thoroughly made perfect sense, along with the fact that they wanted to make sure it was software which Callum could become easily familiar with.

Accordingly, as with all customers, the Ayoa team provided KreativeInc Agency with the correct support to guide them through the platform’s capabilities, its digital reasonable adjustments for neurodivergent individuals (background colour, Dyslexia View, My Planner etc.), and discuss how it could be applied to their specific needs. Both Caren and Callum accredit this personal, informative, and clear guidance of Ayoa as one of the main reasons why they knew it was going to be the platform which would work for them.

Since then, Ayoa has become the bedrock for the whole company’s operations with Callum engaging with work as Head of Creative, and Caren tackling activities related to her position as Head of Operations, Sales and Marketing. As a team with one half being neurodivergent, the other neurotypical; one client-facing, the other behind the scenes; Ayoa has been tested to live up to its principles by being the flexible middle ground to work for and connect both parties.

For both, they say that its performance has been great. Personally, for Callum, Ayoa has provided a flexible, digital workspace which allows him to be creative whilst working in a structured way – he calls it, “just genius”! This is because Ayoa provides not only mind maps, task boards and digital whiteboards, but also functions in a way that allows these resources to seamlessly communicate with one another. Callum therefore regularly moves between the plethora of different views depending on his preference and the work he is conducting. With a guaranteed link existing between where he can generate creative ideas to where they can be organised into tasks, Callum feels at ease to express creatively in mind maps and whiteboards whilst knowing that subsequent structure will be achieved in Ayoa’s task boards. Overall, the different options which Callum has available within Ayoa makes his experience of working a lot more enjoyable in comparison to his previous employment where no flexibility for his needs were considered. As a result, Callum benefits and so does the company.

However, although interest in Ayoa was initially generated due to Callum’s needs, it was equally important for it to enable collaboration between himself and Caren. This was always going to be crucial from a business perspective but also due to one of the main reasons why KreativeInc Agency was born – to prove that by talking to one another, and understanding and acknowledging other people’s differences, neurotypical and neurodivergent people can work together.

Ayoa has helped Caren and Callum achieve this and they believe that their implementation of Ayoa’s mind maps is crucial for this success. This is because in some instances prior to utilising Ayoa, they had experienced moments of miscommunication. However, now with the help of Ayoa, Caren shares all client briefs with Callum in the form of a mind map. This format enables Caren to clearly express the visions which their clients have for their website and for Callum to digest it without any problems. As their business concerns the production of aesthetic and accessible websites for clients, being able to communicate ideas in an illustrative way has been greatly beneficial for the team.

Excitingly, using Ayoa has also enabled them to further the extent of their great work – not only has it improved their primary work of making websites accessible, it has also enabled them to start more conversations about neurodiversity. With Ayoa being “visually stunning”, as Caren describes it, they use the app’s sharing functionality so that their clients can be fully engaged with the projects. This takes place in the form of clients brainstorming their visions with Caren in an Ayoa mind map, before being able to witness the status of the tasks Callum is completing.

With KreativeInc Agency’s clients utilising Ayoa as well, conversations naturally move beyond web accessibility and to neurodiversity. As Caren rightly states, “web-accessibility has been a term which has been floating around for over 20 years often with a daunting cloud in close proximity, sadly seeing organisations ignoring their social responsibility” and the same can be said with regards to neurodiversity. Even today people still think of neurological differences as hindrances or deficits despite those who have them being gifted with unique skill sets which can transform the prospects of a company thanks to excellent problem-solving skills or immense productivity levels. Fortunately, KreativeInc Agency are able to dispel archaic myths surrounding both web accessibility and neurodiversity by producing accessible yet beautiful websites (take a look at their own website to see for yourself: www.kreativeincagency.co.uk), as a direct result of them being a team which harmonises neurodivergent and neurotypical talents.

Overall, whilst we might still live in a neurotypical world, slowly but surely, digital platforms are being transformed into accessible ones thanks to the work of a partnership flourishing with neurodiversity.

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Ross McGee

Ross studied English Literature at Cardiff University, enjoying the rich diversity of perspectives and experiences which texts presented to be analysed. Graduation took him into a marketing role where consideration of various interpretations and drivers could be continued. Today his interest in understanding different standpoints has turned into a passion for supporting neurodiversity - a catalyst for alternative, creative thinking and societal breakthroughs.

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