By Sharron Rush, Executive Director

As 2012 comes to a close, we at Knowbility hope you have had a good year.  We look back at a year of tremendous progress in the field of accessibility, watching changes that we have anticipated for many years coming to pass. Since 1998, Knowbility looked for ways to build collaborative efforts to scale the Accessibility Internet Rally (AIR) beyond our home town of Austin, Texas. We knew that web professionals who learned accessible design skills in the context of this fun, friendly competition tended to become accessibility advocates for life.  And this year, under the leadership of Chair Rich Schwerdtfeger and Education Task Force lead Hiram Kuykendall, AIR recruited more than a dozen teams from all over the world and provided them with distance training in the nuts of bolts of accessible web design. Stay tuned for outcomes and awards in early 2013.

Other changes were driven by legislation.  The 2010 passage of the 21st Century Communication and Video Accessibility Act raised awareness of the need for captions and audio description. Now that technologists are aware of the challenges, tools have improved and accessible multimedia is becoming the standard. Did you know that our AccessWorks program - in addition to providing user experience testing and document remediation - now also employs people with disabilities to caption your videos? Call us for more information about video captioning services that employs people with disabilities.

Educational professionals seem to be learning that as they provide curriculum products that are accessible to students with disabilities, they are solving problems of learning differences for all of their students.  We are working with Virtual School Networks and developers of computer based tests. Our ATSTAR program is helping teachers and teachers-in-training learn to include all students.

Please read on to learn more about how our programs are helping to ensure technology access for all.  And if you know an individual, a company, or an agency that has done good work in accessibility and would like to shine a light on that work, please use the online form to nominate accessibility champions for our Achievements in Accessibility award.  We are hoping that this will be the first of an annual series of spotlights on the good work being done in our global community.

Every day, we find ourselves grateful to be part of such a dedicated group of innovators and collaborators.  It is a privilege to do this work in such good company. Many thanks for your support and fellowship as we strive for equal access to technology opportunities for all.