Category Archives: Knowbility

Free webinar: How does an NPO prepare for OpenAIR?

Event:  Nonprofit (NPO) Kickoff – Join the webinar as a Guest

Date / Time: Wednesday, 9/18/2013, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM (CST)

Training Type:  Webinar

Audio:  Voice Over IP – You will need headphones with a microphone to talk.

Questions:  Email openair2014 at yahoo dot com

Knowbility’s Accessibility Internet Rally (AIR) program evolved last year. What started in 1998 as a local or regional one day hackathon is now a several week volunteer program through which teams of web developers create fully functional sites for nonprofit organizations. Renamed OpenAIR since the competition is now open to NPOs, NGOs and arts and performance organizations from all over the world, it is an amazing opportunity for charitable and public service projects to get the professional support that they may not otherwise be able to afford.

I always hesitate to use the word “free” when urging NPOs to sign up for the program, however.  There is a minimal cost (a $100 registration fee so we know you mean it)  and more importantly, there is a commitment of time and attention.  Developer teams are willing to commit their time and talent to your project and your nonprofit will need to make a similar time commitment.  So if you are not sure about making the commitment, this webinar is 100% free and will help you decide of OpenAIR is right for your dot org.

Join us online to learn more about what the commitment will be and how to help your team win the OpenAIR competition and make web sites that are beautiful, that serve a nonprofit mission and that are fully accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.

Here’s the detail. Join us to get the full scoop.

Event:  Nonprofit (NPO) Kickoff – Join the webinar as a Guest

Date / Time: Wednesday, 9/18/2013, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM (CST)

Training Type:  Webinar

Audio:  Voice Over IP – You will need headphones with a microphone to talk.

Questions:  Email openair2014 at yahoo dot com

 

Accessibility in the National Day of Civic Hacking

Participating in the National Day of Civic Hacking

The first national Hackathon for Change was held on June 1st and 2nd and was every bit as exciting as I anticipated.  The event had much of the same energy, idealism, and enthusiasm that we see each year in our annual Accessibility Internet Rally (AIR) competitions. If you’re familiar with AIR, you know that since 1998 Knowbility has fostered teams of tech volunteers to donate time and talent by building accessible web sites for nonprofit groups.

Similarly, this last weekend of civic hacking brought more than 10,000 volunteers out within their own communities to participate in more than 95 separate hackathon events.  Data sets from dozens of government entities were made available to the hackers with the challenge to use  publicly-released data, code and technology to solve problems relevant to our neighborhoods, our cities, our states, and our country. If the energy at Austin’s ATX Hackathon for Change was any indication, people of all ages and skills actively and joyfully embraced the opportunity to use technology to make a difference in the lives of citizens – truly awesome!

St Edward’s University hosted the local event and Open Austin was the primary organizer.  What distinguished the Austin Hackathon from the others is this:  alone of all the programs I surveyed, Austin had web accessibility prompts in the orientation materials for all volunteers and included on their Expert Panel an accessibility advocate – me! It is always exciting to watch coders, designers, and planners respond to the accessibility challenge.  The experience led me to examine once again the nature of the field of digital accessibility and what is currently needed to truly advance and bring into the mainstream the practice of accessible design.

Mainstreaming digital accessibility

Some have been calling for the creation of an International Society of Accessibility Professionals.  But here is what I wonder:  What exactly will the establishment of a separate organization for these professionals do to integrate accessibility into the practice of smart, eager, engaged developers and designers such as those who participated in the National Day of Civic Hacking?  Does a professional organization really capture the imagination and fire of those for whom development is a calling and who respond to challenges like gaming and mash-ups?  I truly do not know the answer.

But I do know from participation in AIR and again this weekend that when accessibility is integrated as part of a broader community engagement, it is easy to “get” it.   I see lights go on and accessibility embraced on a community level by bright entrepreneurs, designers, gamers, and developers. I know that when accessibility is integrated into a lively practice, it is more likely to be accepted and improved upon than when it is siloed off into a separate category.

Accessibility practitioners are no different than any other specialized discipline.  If kept in isolation, the echo chamber effect creeps in, bad practices can be institutionalized, and adaptive change becomes more difficult.  Including accessibility along with other design considerations, integrating accessibility into iterative processes, ensuring that accessibility is part of the tumble of the development process – I believe THAT  is the way to keep accessibility ideas and practice fresh, innovative, and truly relevant.

What would John Slatin do?

Participating in the National Day of Civic Hacking was big, fat, super happy fun.  Let’s find more ways to integrate accessibility.  I challenge advocates out there. Instead of (or in addition to) submitting your papers to disability conferences and speaking to the singing choir, why not submit to wild and wooly design and tech conferences – like Big(D)esign and SXSW Interactive – that have nothing in particular to do with accessibility?

Dr. John Slatin was an English professor, a poet, and a lover of technology who happened to be blind.  He inspired students and colleagues as he fostered art, language, and technology-related research projects that were not easily described or pigeon-holed. John was an effective accessibility advocate precisely because his imagination was fired by the potential of technology to bridge gaps of language, culture, geography, and yes – disability.  Let’s get out there and truly demonstrate the truth of John Slatin’s words…Good design IS accessible design.  Onward!

 

 

 

Remote training for those who can’t make it to Austin for AccessU

Good news / bad news about AccessU

Good news first – people are loving this year’s AccessU lineup of accessibility topics and instructors. Classes are beginning to fill  up, and the excitement is building about our upcoming gathering in Austin in May. The teaching schedule is just great this year and we are looking forward to a vibrant three days of teaching and learning from one another.

But there is a downside. Not everyone can get to Austin in May and we will miss some of you!  Looking for a way to include everyone – we are all about inclusion after all – we have an idea, but we need your help.

Below you will find class descriptions of some of the most popular classes. Some have filled up for the in-person training and some are only available in post-conference sessions.  You can help! Please read the following descriptions and then take the on-line survey to tell us which classes you would like to see in a one-day, online version of AccessU.

We have included twelve courses in our short list, but we can only broadcast six. And we may have left out one or two that you are especially interested in. So feel free to checkout the full list of AccessU classes and request that we include any of those in our broadcast webinar day of AccessU at Your Desk.

The survey will also ask which day you prefer.  If we have sufficient interest, we will produce one day of remote training. AccessU at Your Desk would present six courses in an elearning format and make the archives available to all. Thanks for your input!

What to do next

You have a few choices, you can choose form the list below, look at all of the AccessU course offered and finally, vote for the classes you would like to see included in AccessU at Your Desk.

  1. See Knowbility’s Short List of suggested classes for AccessU (just below)
  2. and/Or see all of the AccessU classes and choose your own
  3. Vote for your Top Six!

Knowbility’s Short List

Basic HTML Accessibility Techniques

Basic HTML Forms & Tables

Captioning and Audio Description Strategies

Cultural Shifts and Enterprise Accessibility

E-Learning for All

Google: Taking on Accessibility Challenges in Complex Web Applications

Mobile Accessibility Clinic

Open Source Tools for Building Accessible Websites

Principles of Accessible Documents

Strategic Accessibility

The 508 Refresh is Coming – How Will Federal Compliance Testing Change?

Walk through WAI Resources

and, a reminder that you are also free to choose other classes from the full list of courses offered at the in-person AccessU.

Vote now and win a free seat at the virtual conference

Your vote puts your name into a drawing for a free seat at AccessU At Your Desk. Even if you are attending, your free ticket is fully transferable.  So  vote today and thanks again!

First Round Winners of Open AIR Announced!

The first round of judging for Open AIR has come to an end, and the winners were announced on Friday at a  party at Cover 3 in North Austin. Six winners were announced in two categories, Basic and Advanced, based on the nonprofit’s requirements for the site and the number of advanced features (like video, audio, or ARIA widgets) that were attempted.

We had so many fantastic sites submitted that it was incredibly difficult to narrow the results down to just six. These six sites will be allowed to make updates to their sites and resubmit for another round of judging, and the final winners will be announced at the Dewey Winburne Awards and Open AIR Awards Ceremony on March 11, 2013, at SXSW.

AIR sites are judged by a panel of accessibility experts, including Jim Thatcher, Preety Kumar (CEO at Deque), and Knowbility’s own Geri Druckman. Thanks to the judges for all their hard work and to Deque for sharing use of their excellent WorldSpace tool with us!

Without any further ado, here are the Round One winners and their non-profit organizations!

Basic Category

  1. Headspring Hurwitzes: Texas ROSE
  2. Team Canada: Black Creek Community Health Centre
  3. Team Web-able: Council on At-Risk Youth

Advanced Category

  1. Basic Semantics: The Virginia Home
  2. The Green Team: ASPIRE
  3. EZXS_ibility: HaShem’s House

Stay tuned for more news on the Open AIR winners!

Win a ticket to CSUN and support Knowbility!

CSUN’s International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference is an amazing conference in its twenty-eighth year. Knowbility is extremely proud to be associated with the conference – Sharron will deliver four sessions this year!

Best of all, we’re giving you the opportunity to support Knowbility and win a chance for one of two tickets to this year’s conference. Simply donate $40 or more via PayPal, and we’ll send you a raffle ticket. We’ll conduct the drawing on January 31st, and winners will be notified February 1st.

Why attend CSUN?

Fresh viewpoints. Representatives from all over the world who work in and/or with assistive technology share information and perspectives.

Unique opportunities. Attendees and presenters at CSUN have the chance to give their input on and influence legislation and policy-making around disability issues.

Networking. Get to know new contacts and network both on an individual and B2B level. There is ample time and places for gathering in smaller groups, meeting for drinks and dinner, and general social network building and gathering.

Educational rewards. Attendees learn about emerging assistive technology in educational sessions for subject matter students and experts.

Why support Knowbility?

Knowbility is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that depends on your support. You can help by giving generously. All contributions are fully tax deductible and you can designate that your gift support any of our fantastic programs. Just indicate on your check or your PayPal donation form that you would like your gift to support any of the following:

  • Accessibility Internet Rally (AIR) community training for nonprofits and web development professionals
  • ATSTAR, helping teachers understand and implement assistive technology for K-12 students
  • AccessWorks, employing and training veterans and others with disabilities in accessible information technology
  • Staff participation in W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Working Groups
  • Be used wherever the need is greatest