Knowbility is truly excited and downright thrilled to announce that we are adopting Humanitix as our registration and ticket sales application. Really?- you might ask– thrilled about a ticketing app? It may seem odd, but here’s the thing: It is so encouraging to find a startup company that cares about accessibility right out of the gate. Not waiting for threats of lawsuits, requests from customers for VPATs, or complaints from their disabled customers, Humanitix has built accessibility features into both the front facing system and the administrative back end from the start. And they are open and eager to learn from their customers how to improve accessibility. That matters a lot to us as an organization with a large number of staff with disabilities.
A bit of background: In December of 2020 we published a four-part series called Helping the Helpers to be More Inclusive. After nearly a year of rapid transition from in-person to online delivery of our program services during the pandemic, we were getting a bit weary of having to explain again and again why digital accessibility was so important. Philanthropists, tool makers, communities of practice and others who were trying to help nonprofits operate in the emerging new world seemed clueless about accessibility.
Most philanthropic webinars proposing to help us weather the pandemic storms failed to include captions. Trying to register for them was an exercise in frustration if you used assistive technology. They were not accessible. When it came to digital tools, while a few companies scrambled to improve the accessibility of their front facing apps, almost none of the conference apps, event management tools, and fundraising platforms anticipated the fact that people with disabilities might have the role of administrator and project manager. The back end management tools are not accessible.
As we continued to try to educate vendors and so-called social innovators and our fellow nonprofits about the importance of digital accessibility, we found mostly a lack of awareness and understanding. We were often told "It's too expensive" with justification that indicated they had no real understanding of costs but were working on assumptions. We especially continued to search for the most accessible tools options we could find. Eureka! – we found Humanitix, the most accessible ticket sales and registration system we’ve ever seen and one that integrated an accessibility commitment from the start.
They had us at “accessible” but it turned out there is much more to the Humanitix business model. Funded by the foundations of tech giants such as Atlassian, Humanitix is itself a nonprofit 501c3 organization with a mission of true social innovation and a business model based first and foremost on making the world a better place.
Humanitix is not perfect in terms of accessibility – but then, neither are we (always). We say accessibility is a journey, not a destination. Their commitment to accessibility is clear and is built in. Some of the things we immediately appreciated:
- Clear and consistent navigation
- Keyboard accessibility
- Properly labeled form fields
- Instructive feedback for errors in form completion
- Short, clear alt text (a few cases where the alt was redundant, but again, we are not seeking perfection, we are thrilled to find honest commitment)
- Plain language
On top of that, Humanitix is a nonprofit, they give to other nonprofits (all surplus fees after their costs flow into children’s charities), they charge us far less than any other vendor and they are arms wide open to customer feedback on accessibility and other human based needs.
I wrote a fan letter through their web site and got an almost immediate response from Joshua Ross, one of the company leaders. “Imagine,” Josh said to me, ”What power there would be if tech companies instead of just making more billionaires, dedicated those resources to improving the planet and people’s lives.”
We hosted a few of our fall events on Humanitix and the results were outstanding. In January when our AccessU ticket sales go from pre-sale to Early Bird you will find tickets for all Knowbility events only on Humanitix. Once you sign up for any of our free webinars, you will get an option to be informed of upcoming Knowbility events through the app. As we continue to search for accessible tools for classrooms, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations, we will keep you posted.
Onward for a more accessible 2022!