Hi, I'm Melanie Rimmer. I care for my dad who is 73 and has diabetes, heart problems, neuropathy, hearing loss and is a wheelchair user. I'm also a researcher into Assistive Technology at the University of Sheffield, where I'm working on a project called Project Realise http://www.realisepotential.org/

The idea behind the project is to bring together:
1) people with disabilities who have ideas about how to make technology more accessible
2) software developers who can turn these ideas into reality.

So for example, a user of Realise could post an idea such as "I would like a smartphone app that tells me which UK train stations have accessible facilities". Other Realise users could upvote the idea if they too would use such an app. And they might add comments such as "It would be great if it included tube stations, too". And then an app developer could visit Realise and immediately see that there was a demand for this app which would motivate them to develop it. The developer could use Realise to talk to the people who had asked for it and find out more about exactly what they want the app to do, what features it should have, what platform (e.g. Android, iPhone, Blackberry etc) would be best, and so on. When the app is finished, they could use Realise to promote the app to users.

Project Realise isn't just about smartphone apps. It can be about PC software, gaming consoles, browser addons, any kind of tech at all. The outcome we want is people with disabilities, carers, and developers all working together to build more accessible tech.

The website has been up and running for a little while, but it will need a certain critical mass of users to start functioning properly which is why I'm telling you about it. If you think Project Realise sounds interesting, I'd be over the moon if you visited it and got involved, maybe registered as a user or even posted an idea of your own. But if you have a look and decide it's not for you, I'd be really pleased if you commented here and briefly explained why. Criticisms and negative feedback also help us improve the site in the future.