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TheStreet Open House

Global Competition Seeks Web Pros And Nonprofit Orgs To Make The Web More Accessible To People With Disabilities

Award winning community collaboration matches IT professionals, advocacy and arts organizations, and web accessibility experts to build a fully inclusive Web.

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Knowbility, an Austin-based nonprofit organization that advocates for equal access to communications technology for people with disabilities, announced today that their award-winning, 15 th annual Accessibility Internet Rally (AIR) Program, now called OpenAIR, has become a global competition and is open to web teams and nonprofit groups from all over the world.  Sponsored by Deque and Adobe and led by IBM's CTO of Accessibility Richard Schwerdtfeger, the OpenAIR competition invites web professionals to receive disability awareness and accessible design skills training. In exchange, web pros agree to volunteer to create accessible web sites for participating nonprofit organizations. Sites will be entered into the competition and judged by a panel of accessibility experts.  After two rounds of judging, winners will be announced at the 2014 SXSW Interactive's Dewey Winburne awards party. OpenAIR has been recognized for excellence and effectiveness by the Peter Drucker Foundation, the Congressional Black Caucus, the White House and others. 

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131001/DC89907)

Who benefits

"People with disabilities need equal access to information technology and web developers need the skills to meet those diverse needs," said Knowbility Executive Director and co-founder Sharron Rush. "The OpenAIR program addresses the needs of both communities." 

  • Nonprofit organizations benefit from the services of a team of web development professionals, free hosting and ongoing support services. 
  • Web developers benefit from professional development in web accessibility that is increasingly mandated by legislation, court decisions, and best practice.
  • Fifty-five million Americans and 750 million people worldwide have disabilities that may impact their ability to use the web and fully participate in modern society. This competition raises awareness.

Accessibility is a global issue

Sometimes called the "digital divide," addressing unequal access to technology is increasingly important as more educational, employment, and social opportunities move online. 

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