Guide Dogs Australia launches online community platform
16 March 2022 at 4:11 pm
Guide Dogs Australia has developed an accessible way to connect Australians living with low vision or blindness.
After community requests for a place where people with low vision or blindness can connect, Guide Dogs Australia (GDA) has launched its own community platform – CatchUp.
CatchUp is an extension of GDA’s Community Hub, which was built in 2018. The aim of this new iteration of a community platform is to ensure more engagement and personalisation.
With expert articles, video tutorials and online forums, members are able to connect with others living with low vision and blindness whether to socialise, share resources or offer support.
Guide Dogs Victoria CEO Karen Hayes said that CatchUp would also be a place for people to access the specific information they need when they need it.
“It’s also not just about Guide Dogs Australia services,” Hayes said.
“[CatchUp] has everything from articles by people with lived experience, informative videos about technology, news and even some really fun things happening in the community like events or accessible shows.”
Dale Cleaver, CEO of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, said a huge focus of the project had been around improving accessibility and user experience.
“The launch of our new brand and websites last year really focused on creating online platforms that were fully accessible,” he said.
“It made sense to pull the [new and improved] community hub into the wider digital design ecosystem so [all] our channels were aligned.”
To reach its goal of connecting the community, CatchUp has been made accessible to everyone, not just GDA clients. The platform welcomes people with lived experience, families or friends supporting someone with low vision or blindness as well as practitioners working in the space.
And while the new and improved platform only launched in early March, users are already enjoying the enhanced community experience.
GDA client Dan Pritchard said that CatchUp has brought with it a new wave of connection.
“I thought the previous version of the hub was ok but it wasn’t anything attention-grabbing. It felt a bit like trolling through a news website. It was a great source of information but you never really felt connected with the community the information was about,” he said.
“Now it’s a completely different experience. You still have your news and information but now you also have that community. I can interact with others, find out their thoughts and have those shared experiences.”
Find out more about CatchUp here