Published in Features on 1 Nov 2011

bespoken is a social media website dedicated to building a community that aims to include disabled people in the design of everyday household products from their own homes, and where they can share ideas and tips on how to overcome everyday challenges that are faced with appliances and technology.

The site was created by the Blackwood Foundation, an independent subsidiary of Blackwood (previously known as Margaret Blackwood Housing Association). Its main aim is to support people to live independently and to get the most out of life, and was inspired by a series of workshops that took place across Scotland in 2010. These workshops involved talking to disabled and older people about design, technology and independent living.

bespoken wanted to capitalise on the creativity and ingenuity that people used to create solutions that support their independence. In the words of David Jarrold, Director of the Blackwood Foundation, "we wanted to create a tool that we could use to bring people together with suppliers, developers and manufacturers so that this expertise could improve existing products and drive the innovation of new products".

The website is designed for anyone; older or disabled people, carers or supporters, occupational therapists, service providers or academics, or people who are just interested in how to make the most of independent living. It encourages as many people as possible to join, contribute to, and benefit from the site.

Features of bespoken include a number of discussion forums to share insights, ideas, opinions, challenges, and to ask questions. It also offers a video collection and image bank, as well as an area for posting events and a chat room for those who want to engage in real-time with other members of the website. Feedback on possible improvements and developments to the site is also welcomed.

Visit the website: bespoken