The first Accessible Internet Rally in 1998 was a simple competition; volunteers came together and created accessible websites for non-profits, in a single day.
Today, OpenAIR is not just about creating accessible websites. It is about imparting advanced accessibility skills and knowledge to web designers. It is about propagating Knowbility’s mission to organizations that are making a difference in the world. It is about finding the right people, creating a challenging atmosphere for them to learn and enhance their abilities and ultimately, making the web an accessible place. And in taking OpenAIR from being a one-day competition to a year round learning experience, many people have worked tirelessly behind the scenes over the years.
This year, OpenAIR had some of the best minds in accessibility mentor the teams – giving them guidance and training in web accessibility. Everyone at Knowbility is grateful to all mentors, who worked in the shadows during the whole competition and for the encouragement that they gave to their teams during the competition which motivated them to incorporate design and testing techniques that might have seemed unfamiliar. Some of those activities directly contributed to team awareness on the vast spectrum of user needs, and revealed to them how much of a difference their efforts made in creating more accessible digital content.
The mentors for this year were:
Jared W. Smith (@jared_w_smith) for Web-Able
Leonie Watson (@leoniewatson) for AcsaGen
Henny Swan (@iheni) for Wild West
Joseph Karr O’Connor (@accessiblejoe) for AxIs
Dale Cruse (@dalecruse) for WFM Team One
Lisa Herrod (@lisaherrod) for Down Under
Shawn Lauriat (@slauriat) for We Are 99%
Wendy Chisholm (@wendyabc) for WFM Airlines
George Luc (@georgeluc) for Accessibility Warriors
Rob Carr (@rgcarrjr) for The Beginners
Dylan Barrell (@dylanbarrell) for Barrier Breakers
Paul J. Adam (@pauljadam) for Sahyog
George Luc (@georgeluc) for First Timers
Thank you mentors, for taking out the time to help us help improve web accessibility! OpenAIR wouldn’t be what it is today without your efforts!
In its 17th year now, Open Accessibility Internet Rally (OpenAIR) has seen tremendous participation from teams all over the world. Every year, the teams are better and the competition, tougher. The teams are also mentored by the best in the field of accessibility, making it even more difficult to pick the best.
OpenAIR is recognized as a great channel to impart accessibility skills to talented web-designers. It is also a wonderful medium for non-profits to connect with developers who can create beautiful websites for them. But what makes OpenAIR unique is the competitive spirit that pushes each team to put in their best effort to deliver the most accessible websites. And in keeping that competition alive, we are extremely grateful to our panel of judges who invested so much of their time for OpenAIR.
It is inspiring to have close to 20 judges come together and collaborate the way they did. Without them, we couldn’t have done any of this. The panel of judges for this year’s OpenAIR included:
• Mike Moore
• Brenda Adrian
• Jennison Mark Asunción
• Aaron Bangor
• Annette Berksan
• Cornelius Chopin
• Luis Garcia
• Michael Gower
• Susan Hewitt
• Matt King
• Dan Kinnunen
• William Lawrence
• Lewis Phillips
• Aimee Roundtree
• Glenda Sims
• Richard Steinberg
• Cliff Tyllick
• Pooja Nahata
• Susann Keohane
Thank you so much for taking out the time to help us help improve web accessibility!
Oh, the places we’ve been
The OpenAIR 2014 Heroes game on the road
Greetings, AIR participants and Knowbility supporters! We’ve had a busy time already this year, traveling and creating and learning, and we have a lot to share with you. For those of you who signed up to receive the monthly newsletter, thank you! Your support and participation are what will make this game truly epic. If we’ve left your name on the mailing list but you’re not interested in the occasional updates we send, email us and we’ll remove your name pronto. We respect secret identities here more than most people do…
What you’ve just read is the lead-in to the current OpenAIR Heroes newsletter. To read more and subscribe to the somewhat monthly update from Elle Waters and Denis Boudreau here’s the online version of the newsletter. We know you’re an accessibility hero, join us!
Each year, volunteer web pros contribute their time and talents to build accessible web sites for nonprofit organizations of all kinds and from all over the world. We judge them and will give an award for accessibility at the 2014 SXSW Interactive Media Festival. But in the meantime you can tell us which one YOU think is the best. Please take a look and vote for your favorite
Learn digital accessibility skills AND help nonprofit group
We’re in the home stretch of recruiting for this year’s Open Accessibility Internet Rally (OpenAIR) and seeking just three more teams to make the wishes of all of our nonprofits come true. Sign your team up now!
I know you are busy – it seems everyone is CRAZY busy these days – but please, take a minute, take a breath and consider this: Seventeen nonprofit organizations have done their homework, taken their accessibility lessons, done the orientation for being a good client, and polished up their digital assets. Each of them is hoping to meet a team of web pros to help them realize their dream of building an accessible web site. On Wednesday night we will announce the match-ups – which web team and which nonprofit will partner in the Rally sprint. But we only have 14 teams.
So please, if you want to take part in a fun friendly competition that, by the way will provide you with a few benefits as well. Competing teams design accessible web sites for NPOs but get this in return:
- Access to an online series of accessibility skills training modules by Sharron Rush, Derek Featherstone and other world renowned experts.
- Access to the automated Worldspace accessibility testing tool
- Access to IBM Connections online community for planning and development coordination
- Detailed feedback and assessment of your work by Jim Thatcher, Mike Moore, Denis Boudreaux and other expert judges
- The chance to play the Accessibility Hero game while meeting development milestones.
But don’t wait, we kick off the competition and announce the team/NPO matches on Wednesday Oct 23rd at 6 pm. Round up your team, help an NPO and learn about web accessibility in a practical, hands-on program that is win-win-win for communities. Thanks!