Openrampette makes questions about co-designing

These notes and pictures were taken at WeMake in Milan during the meetings held on april 11th 2017 for the openrampette project

At WeMake people have being busy with a opencare project about customized ramps to make more shops accessibile to wheelchairs in Milan. It is called openrampette and is being developed with the Comune di Milano, another opencare partner.

The group has a discussion about best ideas on the prototype and how to involve citizens of Milan in the design phase. There  are also needs to develop an app for openrampette.

The discussion goes deep in understanding whether the job consisted in reviewing (advanced prototyping) or development. The problem is that there are not enough indoor skills to develop for mobile. Even IoT (Internet of Things) would have been interesting, but there were no news from the groups.There is a proposal about creating a course for app developers and an internship, but it doesn’t seem feasible. The UX (User eXperience) approach is a main issue, but a simple “nice, try, next” way cannot work. There is agreement on the fact that the ramp should stay light and not, for instance, 40 kgs heavy.

In a presentation of the project there is a interesting discussion about understanding what is not included in the procedures (the rules enforced by the Municipality), and in the advantage of accessing the database mapping the ramps in the city.

Some hypothetical cases are discussed.

The idea to work on is about a “ramp on call” that occupies the ground for a very little time, the one needed for the disabled to access the shop and buy stuff.

Otherwise there is the average ramp, already available where big shops, or post offices are.

The results from the questionnaires about the absence of the ramps before many shops in Milan are considered.

There is need to talk with two type of publics; on one side the shop retailers, on the other the customers on wheelchairs. There is the proposal of a survey before and after the meetings.

Some last work is put on schedule for the end of august, as prototyping, the website, documents, the wiki, the video, etc…

All the effort is designed for the local side of the city and then it might be replayed in further city contexts.

A solution for “calling” the ramp would be to create a button to push.

Communication and promotion issues in co-designing engagement of citizens (disabled and retailers mostly) are a priority.

The idea of a call is being discussed; a container in order to face by degrees what is to be included. The context is opencare so MIR (Maker In Residence) could be included by creating a challenge based on this framework.

The idea is to use edgeryders as development platform and have some surveys about UX and UI (User Interface).

The viable solution seems to stay focused on the issue of accessibility in the milanese context for wheelchairs. It is something on which all the participants agree.


The project is being discussed often in meetings (at WeMake and online with remote collaborators) and is run daily as a main activity. It is very interesting to follow the different steps about the making of the project as openrampette is not a simple issue when it comes to the technical and the social. On openrampette many questions are raised about how dealing with the processes. The shared decision making process is quite often adopted here.

The group has a lot of trust in ideas from individuals and in including the “publics” in the discussion by focus group activities.

Discussions are necessary to share opinions and stay aware of the limits of proposals from individuals, but putting things together in a responsible way following a collective logic seems quite common here.

There is consideration for a need of a collective dimension about the research section of open rampette, anyway different from co-design, …a group discussion among participants.

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The procedure to participate (in italian): click here