Imagine if every assistive technology (AT) company crafted their products with direct and authentic input from their users. At Cephable, we believe end-users have the best ideas and we embody the sentiment of nothing about us without us throughout our product design process.
Let us introduce you to the beating heart of Cephable’s community – The Consortium.
What is it?
Consortium members are adults who find value and enthusiasm in Cephable’s software and mission while using it within their suite of AT. No matter if they have visible or invisible disabilities or want to use Cephable for work or play, their feedback and ideas open the world of possibilities of how we can all interact with our technology in new ways.
However, our Consortium members are not just users; they are collaborators actively shaping the future of our platform. These individuals play a pivotal role in our journey throughout our entire design and development process.
To ensure they are at the forefront of Cephable’s innovation, they gain exclusive access to roadmap insights, prototypes, and early releases. Additionally, Consortium members receive compensation for their time and enjoy exclusive Cephable swag.
Why a Consortium?
While many companies have user advisory boards, we opted for something that resognated more with our brand and community. Cephable’s mascot is an octopus and a little-known fact is that a group of octopuses is a consortium! Our group is as unique, versatile, and intelligent as an octopus!
Our Approach & The Experience
We continue to evolve the structure of our program with an ethnographic approach in mind. Instead of studying our users from a distance, we immerse ourselves in their stories to understand their real, lived experiences. Through relationship building, we seek to understand their behaviors, beliefs, and motivations of how our software can impact their lives…and not just their time on computers.
Our comprehensive approach, which considers every facet of an individual, is deeply influenced by the unique backgrounds of our team. Jon Campbell, Cephable’s Director of Engineering, brings valuable insights from his tenure at Microsoft Research, where he focused on assisting individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Complementing this, our Chief Learning Officer, Julia Franklin, leverages her extensive experience as a speech-language pathologist to further enrich our perspective from a strengths-based therapeutic lens. They have found a remarkable collaboration through merging their expertise and creativity to bring the Consortium to life.
Consortium members are accepted into the program in small cohorts. They embark on a journey through three distinct phases of interaction. In the initial phase, spanning 4-6 weeks, they convene virtually, sharing detailed experiences, and use cases, identifying bugs, expressing support needs, and proposing innovative ideas.
Transitioning to the next phase, Cephable collaborates with its marketing team to create a user showcase, allowing members to contribute to the community while gaining reciprocal value. Diverse in their pursuits, some Consortium members build online communities, others are mission-driven business owners, and a few prefer to keep their stories private.
In the final phase, participants continue to access enhanced support and a feedback channel, empowering them to engage on their terms. Throughout all phases, members are extended invitations to exclusive events and opportunities within our company, ranging from interviews with journalists to live events and virtual game nights.
Moving Forward – Why It Matters
The importance of the Consortium extends beyond just enhancing our existing user base. We are dedicated to reaching the unserved and underserved users who need interventions and ongoing problem-solving for their digital interaction the most. Through a continued focus on growing the Consortium, we believe it helps our company stay rooted in our values, as we aim to help real people solve real problems.
Ready to Dive In?
If you’re as passionate as we are about shaping the future of assistive technology, we invite you to nominate someone – even yourself – to become one of our next Consortium members. Dive in and learn more about how you can actively contribute to the ever-evolving landscape of Cephable.