Playing his part in piloting the launch of the My NDIS app was another step in a “life changing” journey for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant, Finn O’Keefe.
And in highlighting Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), which focuses on digital access and inclusion for the more than one billion people alive today who live with disabilities, Finn has continued that journey.
Finn, who lives with cerebral palsy, was part of the NDIS app pilot program co-designed by participants before it launched early last year. He said the app’s login and user-friendly options had been another step in living his best life since joining the NDIS.
“I’ve been with the NDIS for about 3 years now. The NDIS funding has really been life changing for me in allowing me to access regular physiotherapy and exercise physiology in improving my balance and strength,” Finn said.
“I was also able to get a modified trike to help me get around. It’s really changed my life, and I’m a lot more active and outdoorsy.
“I really wanted to use the app and felt it would suit me better and wanted to try it. It’s been a huge benefit and I find it’s a lot easier and quicker to use for me as it uses the face ID technology from my phone to verify who I am.
“One of the big benefits is it cuts down on keystrokes on a computer and makes it a lot more accessible.
It removes a few steps when I’m doing the administration side of things with entering my claims, and I’ve found it really refreshing to use.”
Celebrated annually on the 3rd Thursday of May, GAAD aims to inspire conversation, thought and learning about digital access and inclusion.
Finn’s involvement in the pilot program sparked all 3, after he helped to iron out an NDIS app glitch.
No stranger to experiencing software issues in inputting the apostrophe in his name when logging into various sites and apps, Finn played an integral part in liaising with the NDIS team to make improvements.
“Because my name has an apostrophe, it wasn’t recognising me as a user, which I’ve experienced a lot as computer systems don’t play nice with apostrophes,” Finn said.
“I worked with a close-knit team who tried different settings and changed settings with me, and it got sorted out.
“My feedback overall was gratefully received, and I’d get emails back regarding suggestions I’d made and that was a positive experience.
“I was also able to help others and that’s why I got involved.”
As one of many NDIS participants who contributed to over 700 pieces of feedback on the app, Finn said it had proven an engaging process, which was inclusive of people with disability.
With GAAD showcasing how people with a disability use digital products or the web through digital technologies, he said having people with disability involved in developing systems to help them interface with the NDIS was important.
“Everybody is different. If you’re speaking with different people, you’ll get plenty of opinions and that will progress a bigger range of people’s requirements. Being open to feedback is a great thing,” he said.
“Some people may prefer a computer or a bigger screen, while some others may like touch-screen interface on the go.
“The app is another way for people to access and make their claims and make their lives easier. It’s all about giving people options and I certainly find the app flexible and easier to use.”