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Festival co-founder Nadine Zrinzo

Meta joins Queensland Festival to bridge the digital divide

Queenland’s largest digital innovation festival, Something Digital, is urging businesses and  attendees to prioritise inclusivity in their practices and digital innovations, with headliners from Meta,  NASA, Doctors Without Borders, and many more.  

Something Digital’s newly released 2024 program echoes the festival’s theme, ‘Empower Every  Human,’ and with an estimated one in six Australians living with a disability,1the call for accessible  and inclusive technology has never been louder.  

Meta’s Accessibility Research Lead and Something Digital headliner Dr. Yao Ding said the tech industry  must recognise and address this growing need by designing products and services that are accessible  to all.  

“Designing for accessibility isn’t just a social responsibility—it’s a business imperative,” Dr. Ding said.  

“By designing products and services that are accessible, companies can tap into a massive market,  benefiting consumers with disabilities who wield considerable spending power similar to that of other  significant market segments by ethnicity.” 

Dr. Ding will lead the discussion “Driving Business Towards Digital Inclusivity: Designing for  Accessibility” in the festival’s Designing for Inclusion program block.  

“We have an opportunity and a responsibility to create technology that serves everyone, regardless of  their abilities,” Dr. Ding said.  

“By prioritising accessibility, we can drive innovation that eliminates roadblocks and enhances the  experience for users with disabilities while also benefitting everyone who may appreciate accessibility  as a convenience at times.” 

Something Digital will take place from 27-28 August this year and promises to be even bigger than last  year’s event, which saw more than 750 participants from over 200 organisations.  

Nadine Zrinzo, co-founder of Something Digital, expressed her enthusiasm for this year’s event and  said the session will force attendees to rethink accessibility and its potential to drive business success.  

“We are thrilled to have Yao Ding at this year’s festival. His insights into accessibility will be invaluable  to our attendees looking to integrate more inclusive practices into their work. As technology evolves,  so must our approach to inclusivity,” Ms Zrinzo said.  

In addition to Dr. Ding’s session, the Designing for Inclusion block will feature discussions on  maintaining intellectual property rights and data sovereignty for First Nations people and will also  tackle the critical question of whether current technological advancements are amplifying inclusion or  inadvertently automating inequality. 

“We want to challenge our attendees to rethink their approach to accessibility,” Ms Zrinzo said.  

“It’s not just about compliance; it’s about driving business success through inclusive design. Emerging  technologies offer unprecedented opportunities to create accessible solutions from the ground up.” 

This year’s Something Digital festival is packed with more than 30 forward-thinking sessions,  masterclasses, and networking opportunities. 

“We’re looking forward to bringing together the digital ecosystem to learn, network, collaborate and  celebrate the great innovations found right here in our backyard,” Ms Zrinzo said.  

“We aim to strengthen Queensland’s economy by building digital capabilities across industries.” 

For more information and to book tickets, visit Something Digital. Early bird specials are available until  12 July, with comprehensive access passes still available.  

Key Dates: 

Something Digital is held across multiple stages within Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley precinct. Key dates for the 2024 Festival are: 

● August 26 – Something Fest begins 

● August 27 to August 28 – Something Digital Conference  

● August 29 – The Something School Breakfast 

● August 30 – Something Fest concludes 

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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