We spoke with Dan Lucey, Creative Director at Havas New York, about how the idea surfaced and the optimism that hardware developers will start adding these features to accessibility settings.
Muse: So Staybl is similar to Safari or Chrome?
Dan Lucey: Yes. Staybl is a web browser, currently available for iPad, and has all the same features, plus it helps compensate for shakes or movements in real time with a centered, stabilized browser window and visual padding, and can be adjusted for different levels of agitation. During design, understanding the needs of patients with tremor was key to our approach to creating a highly accessible and usable experience. This includes large buttons, zoom functions and a stabilized window that counteracts camera shake.
How does it know to move up if a tremor shakes the screen down?
Staybl relies on the device’s accelerometer to adjust the image on the screen. Accelerometers measure the change in speed and direction of the device, enabling features such as step counting, immersive mobile games, or the compass. For Staybl, we can read continuous data from the three-axis accelerometer and adjust the movement of the screen in the direction opposite to that of the device. We also created a design system that allows users with tremors to interact with Staybl through large interaction areas, bright colors to signify interactions, and high color contrast to alleviate readability issues.
Why was it created? Was it for a specific client or a personal, passionate project?
The initial idea came when Michael Schöpf, creative director of Havas Germany, was reading the story of a patient with Parkinson’s disease describing his daily life with the disease. He was particularly touched by the statement that he missed reading books more than anything else. It was clear to Michael that there had to be a digital solution to this problem. So he came up with the idea of a browser app that virtually compensates for any tremor, to allow people with Parkinson’s not just to read, but essentially to access the digital world. Later, Michael’s mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which was a great shock and a terrible coincidence. But because he had a head start with Staybl’s ideation, he was able to offer her some hope and comfort.
Staybl was a nearly two-year pro bono passion project aimed at addressing the unmet needs of people with hand tremors and strengthening our commitment to access and inclusivity. We strongly believe in using business as a force for good, and Staybl is just one of the ways we do that. We also hope to influence hardware and operating system developers like Apple to include these features in their accessibility settings.
What was the best feedback received from those who tested Staybl?
To hear that we gave a 40-year-old woman the confidence that she could continue working and that her tremors would not prevent her from working was pretty amazing.
Michael Schöpf: creative director
Walter Ziegler: creative director
Guido Eichhoff: digital creative director
Jan Peisert: UX Manager
Emanuel Klimschak: UX Designer
Jose Lozano: UX Designer
Julia Bürckel: creative designer
Lorena Wolf: Junior graphic designer on the move
Antonia Kuwertz: Digital Art Director
Albert Memet: Senior Digital Artistic Director
Timo Cremer: artistic director
Sascha Holzhammer: Senior Art Director
Maximilien Eder: artistic director
Alexander Catapano: Senior Writer
Martin Steinorth: head of digital and technology
Arnaud Atchimon: Creative Technologist
Eric Schoeffler: CCO
Nicolas Becker: ECD
Arne Michels: legal adviser and data protection officer
James Huerta: Executive Director, Creative Technology
Kathrin Hoffmann: Experience Design Lead
Joe McHeffey: CD, Experience Design
Angus Lo: Senior Experience Designer
Danny Wang: Group Chief Technology Officer
Kurt Lorey: creative technologist
Lan Zhang: creative technologist
Corbin Ordel: creative technologist
Janice Chen: lead visual designer
Kate Hofstra: Senior Director, Content Strategy
Jonny Leahan: CD, copy
Michael Odibo: Senior Quality Assurance Analyst
Bharat Kumar: ECD