SydDT #77: Designing for Inclusion

SydDT #77: Designing for Inclusion

Thursday, 9 February 2023 was a great kickoff to a new year of SydDT with a focus on designing for inclusion. Kate Linton, the Head of Design at Thoughtworks shared plenty of practical tips and the reality of the ongoing journey of designing for increased inclusivity and accessibility with Thoughtworks’ new brand identity. It’s never perfect, and it’s never finished.

I then had a fireside chat with Agnes Abelsen, the founder and CEO of Travengers who shared some of her key lessons and insights starting Travengers over the past three years – a social enterprise connecting young people who are neurodivergent through travel experiences and social events – like Contiki with support.

Couldn’t make it or just want to relive it? You can watch it now.

Thanks to everyone who came and made it such a fun night… including the people who joined online. Thanks again to our four volunteers who helped out on the night: Anna Dobrokhotova, Jose Ruiz, Soudeh Geranpayeh, and Suzie Huynh – and to Susan Wolfe for getting her students in the mix.

A huge thanks to Thoughtworks for hosting and their continued support… and Tech Talks Australia by 4Twenty Consulting for sponsoring refreshments. Finally, thanks to the rest of the organising crew Zoe Rosen, Kate Linton, and Lucas Mara… with a new team member officially joining tomorrow!

Finally, our next SydDT is on Thursday, 9 March on the theme of Designing a Mentally Healthy Life with Krystal Ellis. Thanks to ThinkPlace for hosting and sponsoring!

Meetup Announcement

Thursday, 9 February 2023 @ 6pm. Thoughtworks, Sydney

Come join us for some fun conversations with interesting people keen on design thinking. This month we’re focusing on designing for inclusion.

If you can’t make it in person, you can join online by registering here


Kate Linton

Head of Design, Thoughtworks Australia
Kate leads the Thoughtworks global design community. With a background in graphic design, user experience and branding, she has led creative teams around the world. She works with product and marketing teams to create a consistent, intuitive and accessible customer experience. Establishing trust with customers begins with curiosity and understanding of the user experience. Kate takes an empirical approach to design, incorporating research, data and regular testing. She is a coach and mentor to designers and works with product teams to envision and design better digital products and services.

Kate will be talking about Branding for Accessibility: An Inclusive Approach to Identity. A brand is more than a logo or a visual identity system. Brand is reputation. It is how people perceive and engage with a business. At Thoughtworks we actively seek engagement with the world. We want everyone to have equal access to our ideas, our insights and our software. Our commitment to diversity and inclusivity is a driver of business strategy.

So when it came to refreshing our global brand, we took an inclusive approach to the design. Starting with the choice of colour palette and fonts we then addressed the many things getting in the way of accessibility. This included changing our tools and ways of working across the organisation. In this talk, I’ll share how we approached the redesign of Thoughtworks to achieve accessibility and usability across all our digital channels.

Agnes Abelsen

Founder & CEO, Travengers
Agnes is Founder of Travengers AU, a travel company helping young neurodivergent adults connect socially and travel. Kind of like Contiki with support. Inspired by her autistic sister, Agnes created Travengers to create opportunities for young people like her sister to access travel, be included, connect socially and build independence, and in doing so, help improve their mental health and wellbeing on their way.

Agnes is originally a disability nurse and has worked 12 years in the disability sector, and has gone on over 25 accessible tours herself. She moved from Norway to Australia 5 years ago, where the idea of Travengers was born. Travengers is now celebrating their 3rd birthday.

Agnes and Travengers were finalists in NSW Tourism awards in 2022, and has been finalist in Business NSW’s awards as Outstanding Young Business leader in Sydney, won a prize from Macquarie bank, and is a speaker on the topic autism and accessible travel. She is passionate about creating social opportunities and creating a more autism friendly and inclusive Australia.

Event Sponsors

Thanks to Thoughtworks for hosting us and Tech Talks Australia powered by 4Twenty Consulting.