CBM, the overseas disability charity

A mobile app providing life-saving relief in disaster scenarios to people with disabilities


The client

CBM is an international disability and development organisation, transforming the lives of disabled people in the world's poorest communities.

Driven by Christian values, they work with disabled people to break down barriers by delivering practical support, improving policy and practice and inspiring the people of the UK to act.

Image displaying the Humanitarian Hands on Tool (HHOT) on a tablet and mobile phone

The facts

When disasters happen, people with disabilities are often among the worst affected and the last to receive help. With a distinct lack of practical advice on disability in disaster scenarios, and with 1 in 7 people living with some form of disability, a large number of people are missing out on life-saving relief services like food, shelter or medical support. 

The project 

CBM developed a set of guidelines which give advice to field workers in emergency response scenarios on how to make relief services inclusive.

Our challenge was to design and build the tools that would allow all relief workers access to these guidelines freely and easily within disaster zones where an internet connection cannot be guaranteed. 

"It has been a real pleasure working with Studio 24 on this exciting development. Not only have they been extremely responsive and flexible, really wanting to understand and respond to CBM’s requirements and specifications, but they have done this with a real grasp of and passion for the impact that this App could have on the lives of people with disabilities who are currently so often excluded from humanitarian relief.”

Kirsty Smith, CBM

The solution

A disability-inclusive emergency response mobile app and website.

The scoping phase established functionality requirements, tailored around meeting the needs of the two main user groups: field workers and people planning the response.

A workshop was held exploring the themes of content, multilingual options, use of illustrations and iconography, navigation, search functionality, favourites/bookmarks, and the proposed sitemap.

A prototype was developed in order to fully explore the functionality and allow us to test this with users. This phase was crucial to help CBM develop the right content and for us all to confirm the best way to develop what had to be a very usable web and mobile application. 

A dedicated QA phase was completed at the end of the project to test the built functionality, trialling it on a range of web browsers, devices and assistive software like screen readers for the blind, to ensure both the app and accompanying website were ready for launch. 

Extensive testing was undertaken to ensure it meets at least AA standard. Although we created the app from the ground up with a focus on accessibility, having this audit highlighted some of the ways we could improve our implementation to make the best use of assistive technologies.

The result: a concrete solution for field workers to facilitate inclusion of persons with disabilities in emergency response, named the Humanitarian Hands on Tool (HHOT).

Image of the Humanitarian Hands on Tool (HHOT) on a mobile

The Humanitarian Hands on Tool (HHOT) is currently at prototype stage and feedback is being provided both by people with disabilities and by agencies providing emergency relief to ensure that the content is as relevant and full as possible. The final version will be completed in 2017.

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