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Agency — March 2, 2020

Startup in 24h: one day for creating an online autism platform

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Degordian

Find out how we built a project for families of children with an autism spectrum disorder in 24 hours.

Willingly giving up your free time in order to go to work might sound like a terrible way to spend your eagerly-awaited Saturday, but that’s exactly what we did on a sunny weekend this February. Passion or a mild case of Stockholm syndrome? The jury is still out.

How it all started

“Startup in 24h” is a project Degordian organized in 2013, 2014 and 2017, and whose core idea is creating a working digital marketing product of our choice in just 24 hours. While prior Startups served as a chance to express our creativity and passion for what we do (and also do a mini, but intense team building), this time we decided to commit and work for a specific cause we all believe in.

Our colleague has a child with a mild autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and he pointed out the lack of credible online resources for parents who suspect their kid might have autism. After agreeing that this is the problem we want to tackle, we connected with a group of autism experts who needed a digital platform, set a date and started preparing.

Prepping is key

To make the 24 hours go as smoothly as possible, we had preliminary meetings with our autism experts in order to understand the challenges parents face if they think their child might have autism.

There were two main problems: 1) consulting experts live was difficult for families that don’t live in big cities, 2) if they researched autism online, the info parents found was dispersed, confusing and non-factual.

That is why we decided to build an online platform where parents could:

  • check if their kid is at risk of being in the autism spectrum,
  • find out what the next steps are,
  • educate themselves and find helpful tips on how to raise a child with ASD (autism spectrum disorder).

More than that, meeting the experts in person helped us understand what they wanted to achieve in the future. Their goal was to create an initiative that would educate and support parents, but also promote inclusivity for kids with ASD and spread the notion that they genuinely are worthy of love, friendship and attention like anyone else. That is why we also used this preparatory phase to come up with a name for their initiative: Plavi kompas, or “blue compass”.

The final countdown

When the clock struck 10 AM on Sunday the 8th, 71 employees from Degordian branches in Zagreb, Mostar and Belgrade showed up at the Zagreb office armed with their cosiest sweats and a healthy mix of enthusiasm and scepticism (“can we really make it in 24 hours?”). Since involvement in the project is voluntary, each person was free to join the team of their choice.

To be accepted in the web team you did need to actually know how to code, since they were the ones in charge of the sitemap, wireframes, art direction, design, front end and back end development, as well as testing.

The content team wrote all of the content of the website, including educational blogs backed by the knowledge of our autism experts.

The marketing and PR team did branding, planned an encompassing PR strategy including PR articles, campaigns and events, created the social media profile of the initiative and a promotional brochure.

The logistics crew were absolute angels who made sure no one was hungry or missing some random piece of technology needed for work.

Finally, the promo team was in charge of updating Degordian’s social media and documenting the whole process. Check out the video…

… as well as the podcast they made during the Startup!

Jack Bauer, we’re coming for you

Thanks to an ungodly amount of coffee and energy drinks, the 24 hours ended up being fun, tiring yet miraculously productive, with the final result being the sveoautizmu.com website. It has a questionnaire parents can take to estimate the chances their child might have an autistic spectrum disorder, as well as a special corner where they can find valuable advice and information about raising a kid with ASD. The website also has a list of social, financial and medical rights of people with ASD and a map of important institutions in Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina where they can seek professional help.

We sincerely thank the experts of Plavi kompas for all the knowledge they shared with us, as well as for giving us a chance to use our skills for something we believe in. We are proud of the created platform and hope it will serve as a place to help parents, educate the general public and fight stigma about people with an autistic spectrum disorder.