For this year’s first article, Koena’s would like to seize the chance to send you our best wishes for 2018, and to share with you some news that we have already announced on our social networks. From January 9 to 12, 2018 the world’s largest technological innovation trade show will be held in Las Vegas: The Consumer Electronic Show (CES), and Koena will have its own booth to present the future Koena platform! This is also an opportunity for us to tell you a little more about our current developments and to show you the video we created especially for this occasion.
Koena at the CES
« Hello, I work in the Systematic competitiveness cluster of which you are a member. You recently made a presentation at the plenary, would you be interested in presenting your work at the next CES in Las Vegas, on the Paris Region stand? Your project fits well with the required innovation. We need an answer by October 15, the deadline for validating exhibitors at the CES. »
This was the essence of the phone call received on October 12th, keeping in mind our heads were deeply occupied with other projects. With the element of surprise past, came a moment of doubt. Is this reasonable? Even if we have the booth and the FrenchTechHub‘s support is funded, there will be unexpected expenses… And then, I remembered this funny video “Vis ma vie de startup » aka “Live my life as a startup ». Communicating is good, but is it really necessary right now, when we’re only just starting to develop the Koena platform?
Then the doubt gave way to the obvious: being an exhibitor at the CES, being part of the French Tech delegation, is truly an opportunity to present the Koena platform and it shouldn’t be missed. We were reassured by the idea after discussing with other companies that have already exhibited at the tradeshow.
About the CES
In figures, the CES represents more than 170,000 visitors from over 150 different countries ready to meet with more than 3,900 exhibitors and the chance to attend more than 300 conferences over 4 days.
As you may have understood, the CES is the largest trade show in the world where for 50 years it’s been possible to see first-hand the innovations of tomorrow. And within the CES, the Eureka Park is specifically dedicated to showcasing start-up ideas and prototypes before they are put to market. This is where Koena will be, on the ground floor in Hall G, stand 50041 (see the fact sheet on the CES website).
The Koena Platform
Koena is a company with a double activity:
- a more traditional consulting and training activity specialized in digital accessibility;
- an R&D activity from which derive new innovative tools to facilitate digital content and service accessibility, including the Koena platform.
The Koena platform is intended for 2 types of audiences:
- professionals that produce digital content and services;
- users with disabilities who come to use content and services produced by professionals.
Therefore, the Koena platform targets both professionals and private individuals, with the aim of creating a link between these two audiences.
From a technological point of view, there will be:
- accessibility test automation to facilitate the most technical and off-putting aspects;
- interactivity with small surprises aiming to motivate Koena platform users (professionals and disabled users) to better understand their respective difficulties and encourage dialogue;
- gamification for professionals who will be able to « play ». Hence, making their content and services more accessible;
- an interface to guide disabled users to describe their specific needs in an operational manner;
- a service for mediation thanks to a collection of Koena certified testimonials from real users and valuing these testimonies when deemed relevant by both parties.
Beyond the technical aspects, the Koena platform intends to offer a different approach to digital accessibility:
- an inclusive method, in which the first concerned users, the ones with specific needs, participate in the process;
- a guilt free approach, where gambling and social link are the most important part and where the norm is put back in its rightful place: that of a useful tool, necessary to measure the completed tasks, and no longer an incriminating « note » for professionals who aren’t sufficiently « compliant »;
- a pragmatic and solidarity-based vision, with the aim to give people the power back to appropriate this major digital accessibility issue, which is first and foremost a citizen issue, before a technical or legal issue.
A video « trailer » of the Koena platform
To present the Koena platform at the CES, we needed mediums for communication. What better than a little video? To tell you about it, I can’t help but quote my 6-year-old daughter’s words:
- Mom, I’d like to see the trailer again, please.
- What trailer?
- The Koena trailer, of course!
And it’s true that this video highlights the problem to which the Koena platform intends on resolving: a trailer basically…
An in-house production: The Koena recipe
Our secret ingredients for the production of this video can be summed up by: a hint of audacity, a bit of generosity and talent, a good dose of enthusiasm and a lot of love…
Koena is not your usual company, and we are honored to have the support from volunteers who wish to contribute to our projects. That’s how between the moment I had the idea of making a video (with zero budget and a two-week lead time… um…), my phone call to Aziz to get his opinion, his enthusiastic phone call to Julien, his filmmaker friend, who himself took his fellow director Raphael with him, and then my call to Maylis and Bob… In 48 hours, the team was almost complete… A short stop off by Sam’s office at the Sannois incubator, and the casting was done! Needless to say, that enthusiasm was the common denominator within the Koena team.
Video preview on YouTube
The video lasts 42 seconds, a nod to Douglas Adams and his galactic traveler’s guide. It’s a purely visual video accompanied by a musical background which does not require subtitling to be understood.
In addition to this transcription, an audio-described version will soon be available. Note that this textual version of the video is a revised version of the script written by Julien Joanny (who I would like to thank once again!).
Part one: when digital is inaccessible
All this part is made against a backdrop of increasingly violent and disturbing music. The song is Thriller Suspense Trailer 8 T60 by Magnus Ringblom.
Sequence 1a: inaccessibility and frustration
Three people with different disabilities, each is using their own computer with obvious frustration:
- Maylis, a deaf woman, is looking for something she can’t seem to find on her tactile tablet whilst pulling a disgruntled face. With her one free hand and the expression of her face, she expresses her frustration in sign language.
- Bob, a quadriplegic man in an armchair, is yelling at the laptop in front of him.
- Aziz, a blind man, has his smartphone to his ear and slides his finger on the screen. Obviously, it doesn’t go as planned because suddenly he holds his phone out in front of himself, and frantically presses the keys, visibly annoyed.
Our characters are gathered in a vast reception hall with Spartan decoration. Bob is in the frame from the beginning, then Maylis and Aziz enter on either side of Bob.
Sequence 1b: The users are angry and the professional in charge is powerless
Our three personas are profiled in a new office and express their dissatisfaction to an off-field person. Maylis expresses himself in sign language before pointing the finger. Bob, in his chair, yells at the person. Aziz brandishes his cane towards the person.
Then we discover their interlocutor, Sam, a professional in charge of the incriminated digital service, behind her desk and facing us. She seems distraught and stretches her arms facing the camera as a sign of impotence.
Stacks of files then fall onto the desk and quickly accumulate until Sam disappears. At the same time, the acronyms of the various web accessibility standards in force (WCAG, RGAA, WAI-ARIA, Section 508, ATAG, UAAG, VPAT) appear successively and on top of each other. So much so that the screen eventually turns completely black.
No more music, only a unified background sound. The screen now turned black has a computer screen on which are typed the letters that make up the word Koena, triggering a series of stars and a change of atmosphere.
Second part: when digital becomes accessible, thanks to the Koena platform
Change of atmosphere: this whole part is done on a music that is both soothing and positive: Follow your dreams by Scott Holmes.
Sequence 2a: satisfied users
We find our three colleagues from the situation in sequence 1a, by this we mean all of them already in the picture, but this time each of them seem happy and satisfied to be able to use their devices intuitively.
The positive words which stem from the Koena platform pour in: fun, simple, inclusive, effective, motivating.
Simultaneously, the three protagonists express their enthusiasm. Maylis and Bob smile at the camera as Aziz raises his thumb in our direction.
Sequence 2b: a relaxed and smiling professional
Back to the professional’s office with Sam. Sam also peacefully smiles towards the camera. His office is brighter and the stacks of files that were overshadowing her are gone. The image becomes blurred.
In conclusion, the Koena logo appears on top of the blurred image from the previous sequence, then a white background appears with the following sentence: « digital technologies dedicated to inclusiveness ».
I would like to extend my warmest thanks to the people who contributed to this video. Forty-two seconds doesn’t sound like much, but a video of this quality requires a rigorous organization and significant mobilization. This clearly wouldn’t have been possible without the professionalism and commitment of Julien Joanny, the director, who turned my idea into a real project that he led from start to finish.
Julien was helped by the discreet Raphaël Zanetto, obviously an expert in lighting ( due to my lack of knowledge in this field I’m not able to describe his work appropriately, but he was present and active during the whole morning we were filming!).
Obviously, a video wouldn’t be anything without its actors. And our novice actors performed like true professionals, in order of appearance:
- Bob Gomis, fellow entrepreneur at the ACCET business incubator on the Neuville site. We had met at an event in Sannois where Koena is hosted and we quickly became friendly. Bob is carrying out an alternative disability media project with his company Beaview.
- Maylis Balyan, long-time friend and French sign language teacher with her company Sign95. Her creative talents have taken her to the theatre, and she is now also doing singing sign language, notably on the show « Je les signe tous » aka “I sign them all” with singer Mathilde, whose video clip you can watch here.
- Aziz Zogaghi, we met through Twitter and then in person at the breakfast organized for France Université numérique at Sciences Po on March 1st, 2017 where I had the pleasure of presenting Koena’s work. Since then, we have become friends, but I must say it’s difficult not to befriend Aziz, whose multiple talents can only be matched by his unconditional kindness and humor under all circumstances.
- Samantha Serpa, alias Sam, assistant at the ACCET business incubator in Sannois, where Koena resides. Sam is the ambulant smile of the incubator, she generously agreed to lend her beautiful smile for the making of this video.
I would also like to thank Vivian Bertin, who gave us permission to tour the ACCET incubator premises in Sannois.
Finally, even if the contribution was not voluntary, I would like to thank Rachel Blancafort, who took care of all the logistics and committed herself beyond her duties to make this production a success. Koena’s fairy godmother made herself vital and her precious help greatly facilitated the smooth running of this project.
I conclude this post by wishing you once again a very beautiful and happy year in 2018, and I say to you: “See you soon!”
This article is a translation of the French article La plateforme Koena en vidéo pour le CES ! Thanks to Joseph Sims for the translation.