Knowbility’s (AIR) Annual Internet Accessibility Rally Announces Global Nonprofit Web Contest Winners

AIR 2021

4 men, 4 women gather and smile while lifting the AIR trophy

The winning AIR team poses with client NPO

Participants covered the world and first place is the RBA11y team from Australia who designs for the Anika Foundation.

It is one of the most amazing collectives of people, hosting one of the most amazing international accessibility events that anyone can participate in. “

– Rob Carr, Senior Judge speaking at AIRawards

AUSTIN, TEXAS, USA, January 8, 2022 / – Awareness, an Austin, Texas-based nonprofit that works to improve web accessibility for people with disabilities, announced the winners of the 2021 Internet Accessibility Rally (AIR) on Thursday, January 6, during an online award ceremony. Of the 20 teams that faced each other, the winning sites are:
1st place: RBA11y design team for the Anika Foundation
2nd place: the AccessHippos team designs brain education strategies and technologies
3rd place: Team Fixer Uppers designing for the Atlanta Council of Jews.

AIR is a technology-for-good community initiative in which teams of web developers and designers compete to create accessible websites for nonprofits, community groups, and artists. Accessible websites allow everyone, including people with disabilities, to access online content and to integrate more socially and economically into our digital world.

Knowbility staff trained participating web professionals in accessible web design skills. Under the direction of a mentor, the developer and designer teams worked for six weeks to improve the accessibility and usability of their clients’ websites. The mentors were led by Sarah Horton and at least one mentor was assigned to each team. Competitors worked in teams spread across national borders and time zones. The sites have been reviewed by accessibility experts from around the world led by Rob Carr of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The first place winner, the RBA11y team, was made up of employees of the Reserve Bank of Australia. His non-profit client was the Anika Foundation. Bhuvnesh Chaudhry was the team captain. Herin Henry was the group’s mentor.

“This competition goes a long way in increasing accessibility awareness, knowledge and skills,” Chaudhry said. “I am really delighted and satisfied with what we have achieved thanks to this competition. “

Other team members included Rajkumar Kannorir, Thiru Palaniappan, Karthik Poobalu, Michelle Wu, and Marat Yeshtukov.

The second place Team Access Hippos is based in California and won the award for their work with Brain Education Strategies & Technologies.

Team members included Captain Cam Coulter, Jenny Panighetti, Siera Bailey-Van Kuran and Paul Chiou. Sumner M. Davenport and Sally Thoun were the mentors of the team.

The Fixer Uppers won third place. A team of students from the University of Texas at Austin, their client was the Council of Atlanta Jews of Color. Noor Iqbal was the team captain and Professor Casey Boyle was the team mentor.

“We worked a lot with our mentors and we worked a lot with our client, but we couldn’t have done anything without our teacher’s guidance,” said Iqbal. “A lot of us just thought we were so inexperienced here. This is the first time that we are going into this. “

In addition to Iqbal, other members of the team included Aman Raju, Masha Larina, Bailey Odom, Morgan Wray, and Sanjna Reddy.

Over 150 volunteers participated in AIR 2021. Most were members of professional and student-led development and web design teams. The other volunteers included mentors, judges and program advisers inside and outside Knowbility. The AIR program was funded in 2021 through a grant from the City of Austin Cultural Arts. Other foundations and corporate sponsors included the Big History Project, Monkee-Boy Web Design, Adobe,, ZenDesk, Visa, and eBay.

Since its inception in 1998, AIR has given thousands of volunteers the opportunity to improve their knowledge of digital accessibility and inclusive design. Over 450 nonprofits, charities, schools, and artists have received accessible websites and been made aware of digital inclusion. Launched in 1998 as the Accessibility Internet Rally for Austin, the competition has been local for many years. After recognition from the SXSW Interactive Festival, the Peter Drucker Foundation, the Congressional Black Caucus, the US Federal Communications Commission and others, AIR has grown into an international competition that has sown the seeds of accessible design in institutions of all types and sizes. in the world. Details of this year’s teams, NPOs, judges and mentors can be found on the AIR program page from the Knowbility website.

“It’s hard to overstate the impact of RIA on the global digital accessibility movement,” said Rich Schwerdtfeger, former Chairman of the Board of Knowbility and CTO of Accessibility for the global group IBM software. “Participation inspired a generation of accessibility advocates with the skills they need to change the digital world into a more inclusive environment for people with disabilities. “

AIR is produced by Knowbility, an Austin-based 501 (c) (3) nonprofit. Founded in 1999, Knowbility, Inc. is an international leader in digital accessibility. Knowbility’s programs focus on the digital inclusion of people with disabilities, including those who are blind / visually impaired, deaf, mobility impaired or have other disabilities. Knowbility’s team of experts are internationally recognized for their role in creating the global standard for web accessibility. Co-Founder and Executive Director Sharron Rush is Co-Chair of the World Wide Web Consortium’s WAI Education and Outreach Working Group. Since the first AIR competition in 1998, Knowbility has provided web-based training accessible to hundreds of businesses, government agencies, and community organizations across the United States. Knowbility’s Accessibility Testing and Consulting Team has guided the creation of over 1,000 accessible websites, making information and opportunities more accessible to 55 million Americans with disabilities and over 1 billion. in the world.

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AIR – the Internet accessibility rally

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