Founded in 1999, Knowbility is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that grew from the community collaboration that produced the first Accessibility Internet Rally in Austin, Texas (AIR-Austin). Knowbility’s Executive Director and co-founder, Sharron Rush, is an award-winning author of the premier book on accessible web design, Maximum Accessibility, which was published by Addison Wesley and co-written with Dr. John Slatin. The founding Chair of Knowbility’s Board of Directors, Steve Guengerich, has been an information technology entrepreneur for over 20 years and continues to inspire Knowbility’s efforts with his entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to the needs of people with disabilities. Knowbility’s current Board of Directors includes prominent industry professionals and community leaders who are all committed to the cause of universal access. A number of them have disabilities or have family members that do.
Knowbility’s mission is to support the independence of children and adults with disabilities by promoting the use and improving the availability of accessible information technology. We envision a world of barrier-free information technology in which children, youth, and adults with disabilities have greater options to learn, work, and fully participate as producers and consumers in the information marketplace. There are currently over 55 million Americans with disabilities –and over 750 million people worldwide– who are excluded from participating in activities many of us take for granted because readily-available assistive technologies and accessible design techniques are not utilized effectively. This group represents over $1 trillion in aggregate income, and as our population ages, this new “digital divide” will swell to include tens of millions more people than today.
Knowbility’s award-winning programs and services are designed to provide universally-available, barrier-free information technology solutions that help the blind visualize the world around them, help the deaf communicate with the hearing world, and help those with mobility impairments “travel” via the Internet. But accessibility is not just for people with disabilities. Research has shown that more than two out of three technology users benefit from accessible design. Additionally, the same techniques used to enable assistive technologies often facilitate access to web sites by mobile phones and other handheld devices.
The benefits of accessibility are far-reaching. Please explore these pages to learn more about how you can help empower millions of individuals and improve the lives of many with technology that touches the lives of us all.