Knowbility announces crowd-funding campaign to build online training in web and I.T. accessibility

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Knowbility announced today that they have launched a crowdfunding campaign through Indie-Go-Go to provide seed funding for an ambitious online training initiative. Their goal is to create online training to give designers and developers the necessary information to build smarter, more accessible sites and apps.

People with disabilities have a right to participate online but most I.T. companies don’t know how to design inclusively.

Knowbility announced today that they have launched a crowdfunding campaign through Indie-Go-Go to provide seed funding for an ambitious online training initiative. Knowbility has been providing training for more than 15 years to raise awareness and skill level for web professionals to understand and produce content and applications that can be used by everyone, including people with disabilities. They made the announcement during the keynote talk of their annual John Slatin AccessU Accessibility Training Conference on the St Edward’s University South Congress campus.

Recognizing that the scale of the problem of inaccessible information technology (I.T.) is of a magnitude beyond what can be addressed in a series of in-person trainings, Knowbility proposes to build an online community of accessibility teaching and learning. Their goal is to provide a fully accessible platform that accessibility experts can use to distribute their insights and share their expertise around the globe.

“We have the tools to make online information fully accessible to all,” said Richard Schwerdfedtger, Knowbility board and CTO for Accessibility of IBM’s Global Software Group. “The barriers occur because developers, designers, administrators, and content providers, who all have a role in producing online information, do not understand how to use the tools for inclusive design. This initiative will go a long way toward addressing that need.”

Knowbility has created a short video to explain the importance of this program on Indiegogo, which is a crowdsourcing platform. The initial goal is $50,000 and Knowbility will receive matching funds when it reaches the $50,000 goal. The program was announced at AccessU today and the campaign can be found online at

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. “These courses will take existing material from our accessibility workshops and make it available on the web. We will also invite other leading accessibility experts to share the platform and distribute their knowledge on a global scale.”

  •     Designers and Developers can learn accessibility skills online to better plan and execute accessibility on their projects.
  •     Project Managers can use the courses to better manage the integration of accessible design, development, and testing into their products.
  •     Teams of web professionals can take just-in-time courses to provide accessibility training specific to their roles in the development process. For example:

o    Administration and management will be able to gain an overview of business mandates for the provision of accessible information technology.
o    Procurement officers can more easily understand what it means to buy accessible information technology (IT) products
o    Content providers will have specific guidance about how to ensure that their content meets accessibility mandates

  •     55 million Americans and 750 million people worldwide with disabilities will experience an improved web experience as these course improve accessibility awareness and skills worldwide.

Accessibility is a Design Consideration
Most sites and apps are built by people who have not included disability as a design consideration. And when they DO make accessibility a design consideration, they become better designers. Almost all sites and apps are built with the best of intentions. Designers and developers balance their understanding of the needs of customers with their own business goals. Designing for disabilities often gets overlooked because of a lack of awareness, experience, and training. These course will give designers the information they need to make accessibility a design consideration. Accessibility can be a fore-thought rather than an after-thought.

Potential Interviews

  •     Knowbility Executive Director and co-founder Sharron Rush. Rush is also the award-winning author of a premier book on accessible web design, Maximum Accessibility, which was co-written with Dr. John Slatin and published by Addison Wesley in 2002.
  •     Knowbility staff members Jeanine Lineback and Desiree Sturdevant. Lineback and Strudevant are both disabled, using screen readers and iPhone apps to help them use sites and apps. Both ladies have participated in OpenAIR events, AccessU, SxSW, and Big Design Conference.

About Knowbility
Founded in 1999, Knowbility’s mission is to support the independence of children and adults with disabilities by promoting and improving accessible information technology. We envision a world 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. Currently, many are excluded from basic activities because readily-available assistive technologies and accessible design techniques are not utilized effectively. in the U.S. alone, this group represents over $1 trillion in aggregate income, and as our population ages, these numbers will increase to include tens of millions more people than today.

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