According to the Census Bureau and the World Health Organization, "The population of people with different disabilities in the United States is a total of 49 million and 1 billion globally". In other words, 1 in 5 people has a disability. Disabilities range from hearing and vision loss to cognitive impairment, neurodivergent conditions, loss of mobility, etc.

During the pandemic, when work from home became the new norm and using Zoom to conduct conference meetings became a necessity, individuals with disabilities became marginalized even further due to the structure and exclusivity of the Zoom platform.

Digital accessibility and inclusion are essential.

From school, to work, to casual socialization, video conferencing has become an efficient way to connect and share information with people near and far, especially since the COVID-19 shutdown.

However, video conferencing creates many accessibility barriers, meaning not all communities can participate equally.

Digi-Clusive Meeting intends to remove those barriers, because, in order to have true community, EVERY VOICE IS NECESSARY.

What it does

Digi-Clusive is an easily downloadable extension for Zoom to help make digital meet-ups more welcoming for people with a variety of accessibility needs.

Joining a Zoom Meeting

Whenever someone joins a Zoom meeting, the new user will be prompted with a private message that states:

Thanks for joining the meeting. Please remember to mute your mic when you're not talking, raise your hand when you want to and turn on your captions when you do. Learn more about inclusive behaviors at:

Sending an Image to the Chat

Those who are visually impaired rely on screen readers to process digital text. However, screen readers cannot read images. Digi-Clusive works hard to identify images and reply with:

Please include a short description of the image you're sending

This asks the user to describe the image they sent in group settings. Thus, practicing inclusive behavior!


To encourage digital inclusion, the extension sends automatic reminders for those joining Zoom to mute the mic when not speaking, turn on closed captioning, include image descriptions, and much more...

How we built it

We built Digi-Clusive with React, Javascript, Python, React-Spring and Google API. We decorated with Canva and used Figma to visualize our layout.

Challenges we ran into

We ran into some issues with Git that had one of our team members working with 10 Hydrangea Hacks' mentors for nearly 5 hours. Thankfully, we were able to resolve the issue and Barbra learned a lot about Git, GitHub, and VS Code in the process.

Internet connectivity for two of our other members created momentary productivity barriers, as a result, these team members pivoted and were able to rely on their mobile devices to continue to create Digi-Clusive.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

I, Crystal, am proud of my team. I am proud of Barbra and Elisabeth for their resilient attitude in learning to code in React, Javascript, learn the Git workflow, Version Control, VSCode, Figma, Canva, and CSS/HTML ALL FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS WEEKEND. These two not only were patient in debugging, downloading, processing and coding, but they are also wonderful teammates that continue(d) to bring a curious positive attitude and resilient mindset to the entire project. There's no comfort in a growing zone and no growth in a comfort zone and these two women threw themselves into a volatile growth environment and continued to move forward. I believe in giving credit where credit is due, and I am so proud of these two.

I am amazed and proud of our backend developer, Linda, for working tirelessly on creating the Zoom extension and integrating Google API packages. Linda was our sole backend developer and the only one on our team versed in Python. Not only was she manipulating the Zoom API, integrating logic, and debugging ruthlessly, she always checked in with our team and offered assistance and guidance to those on our team when we were struggling.

It is not often that we have a team with two brand new hackers, willing to take on challenging roles and continue to push the limits of our set expectations of the project, but to have a team that continuously builds resilience and offers kindness in all that they do is very rare. We are proud of the full stack application we were able to create and were able to become better programmers this weekend as a result of debugging, tackling accessibility issues, and finally, learning from each other and the code.

What we learned

"I learned the git workflow, how agile works (a little bit of the software development life cycle), how the Figma design can be translated into a React app, how to manipulate the DOM with the developer tools and implement CSS from the dev tools to the respective CSS file, how version control works with Git. and a little bit about CI/CD process. But beyond learning systems and widening my perspective in technology, I am beyond grateful for my teammates who guided me along this project. Since I don't have much coding skill, I was concerned about being a burden; however instead, I learned the value of maintaining a positive mindset and continually making a collaborative effort to do what I can, such as ideating, designing, articulating our ideas into words, providing feedback for troubleshooting, and always being ready to learn. I definitely gained a better understanding of the hackathon environment, and what it means to be on a great team." -- Elisabeth

"To quote Newton, '...I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.' To me, this means that I am where I am today because of the guidance that I've received previously in my coding journey. You learn best by teaching and I have learned and solidified key concepts by guiding my teammates. I became a better programmer at Hydrangea hacks as a result of coaching my teammates from the ground up concepts, patterns, skills, syntax, etc. " --Crystal

"On the technical side, I learned how to use Google API, image recognition using python, creating a simple UI and the email library. On the soft skill side, I learned how to use Trello and the Agile development cycle." --Linda

"This was my first ever hackathon and, initially, I was worried that my lack of coding skill would be a burden to my team. However, by embracing the advice given during the Hydrangea Hacks opening ceremony and playing to my skills, I was able to find ways to support my more experienced teammates with the technical aspects of our build. Additionally, I mined my many years of professional experience (working both with the Blind and Visually Impaired and with Developmentally and Intellectually Disabled people) to brainstorm possible features and to help ensure our front-end design held true to our goal of increasing digital accessibility and inclusion. In that process, I learned to work with Git and GitHub, Figma, and VS Code. I also learned about Agile project management using Trello. I'm very thankful to my teammates for being exceedingly patient while introducing me to many new programs and languages and helping me solves any issues that popped up throughout our build." - Barbra

What's next for Digi-Clusive Meetings

Initially, we wished to implement a muting function where participants can only unmute upon holding their space bar to prevent confusion from overhead sound for those with disabilities. Unfortunately, while working with the zoom API, there were some permission and security barriers that prohibited us from creating this feature. Therefore, in the future, we would like to build our own platform to implement this feature into our app and reach more communities

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