News / Digital

Google’s open-source accessibility suite grabs top design prize at Cannes

While you’re staring blankly out of the office window at yet another dismal morning with only the prospect of nipping over the road to Tesco for a Double Decker at 11 am to perk you up, the advertising world is slapping each other on the suntanned back down in the south of France. It’s Cannes time again, baby!

As ever, the assembled jury International of the Festival of Creativity — now in its 66th instalment — have been dishing out award after award honouring the best ads, campaigns, and executions going.

Search engine supremos Google has found themselves picking up the highly-coveted Design Grand Prix prize for its open-source tool suite Creatability. Coming out of the Google Creative Lab, Creatability attempts to make art-making tools more accessible for those with disabilities.

Google describes it thusly: “Creatability is a set of experiments made in collaboration with creators and allies in the accessibility community. They explore how creative tools – drawing, music, and more – can be made more accessible using web and AI technology.”

Those tools include a keyboard that can be played by face, body, mouse, or keys, a drawing program that works through both sight and sound, and a word to melody converter.

The open-source, highly-participatory nature of Creatability was what eventually swung it for the judges, who had pitted Google’s platform against Microsoft’s disability-friendly Xbox Adaptive Controller.

Jury member Richard Ting, global chief design officer at international innovation consultancy R/GA was full of praise for the Google Labs suite. “It created a new set of tools we, as creatives aren’t accustomed to right now. We come to work and have our laptops, etc. but if you can’t access that, you’re shut out of the world of creativity,” Ting is quoted as saying by industry publication AdAge.

Ting goes on to say, “If you think about this festival, it’s pretty much celebrating only people with access to these tools. Google is stepping forward in rethinking tools for people shut out of this process.”

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Creatability: Clarion Lite (Via Google)

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Creatability: Sampler (Via Google)

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Creatability: Body Synth (Via Google)