Accessible Design Takes Spotlight in GAAD Hackathon

Learn about the winning solution of the Fintech Open Source Foundation’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) Hackathon.
May 24, 2023

Nearly 200 developers from 27 countries created a slew of inspired tech solutions to address design accessibility for the Fintech Open Source Foundation’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) Hackathon.

This event centered around the design of accessible, inclusive digital and physical financial assets and tools. Participants sought to improve the user experience, and teams comprised designers and developers, who explored use cases that apply to financial institutions. Winning teams walked away with a share of $25,000 in prize money.

Discover Financial Services sponsored two of the event tracks, which spanned two-and-a-half weeks, ending May 18. The Design Thinking track winners were from Discover, and the remaining two Hack the Code tracks saw winning teams from the Ghana-based company Turntabl. The hackathon welcomed 79 teams, more than 70,000 lines of code were written, 441 code commits came through for a total of 11 qualified submissions across the three tracks. Of the 27 total winning participants, 14 were Discover employees.

Discover engineers Ankur Bansal, Praveen Prasanna Kumar, and Abhishek Tiwari were Gold-winning team members for ADA Ninjas. The team created a solution that provides accessible design conventions for a website or application. This solution would provide an alternate URL (, for example) that would include multiple tools—voice bots, chat bots, accessible keyboards and other accessibility options. This would provide a seamless user experience for visually impaired users.

"We wanted to take the simple concept that everyone may have different needs when browsing a website and apply it to our proposed solution," Bansal says.

In this solution, a user with accessible design needs could configure the experience to their specific cognitive disability. Team members said they jumped at the chance to apply their skillset to a tech-for-good initiative.

"You don't want to build something just for the sake of building it," Kumar says. "You want to give something back to the community. It has to be useful."

Discover director of Credit Operations Strategy Kelly Madison spoke during the hackathon's closing ceremony, sharing her own story of raising a daughter who has a rare genetic disorder that causes severe developmental delays. She applauded the teams for taking the time to address such an important issue.

"It's not just my daughter," says Madison, who is the enterprise lead for Strive for Disability Empowerment, the Discover employee resource group for disability inclusion. "There are 1 billion people in the world today living with disabilities. These people just want to contribute to society, and accessible technology allows them to do it."

For more on the winning teams, check out the FINOS Global Accessibility Awareness Day Hackathon Closing Ceremony replay.  

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