The Accessibility Internet Rally (AIR) has been supporting accessibility expertise and advocacy for more than 20 years. Here are answers to some of the most common questions we hear about the this community engagement program and exciting web design competition. Still have questions? Contact us AIR@knowbility.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
As a client, who should be my organization’s representative for AIR?
Pick one person from your program to be the primary contact for the team that will build your website during the rally. This person commits to answering all emails and phone calls from Knowbility and the design team promptly, getting all material ready for the design team, attending AIR online meetings and working with the design team you are matched with.
This person does not have to have any experience with website design. This person should be the person who makes primary or final decisions regarding your organization’s communications. It should be a person who can quickly gather or write all text for the website you want designed or redesigned, and quickly gather and provide all logos and photos you want to use on the site (or you want the designers to choose from), video files and audio files (multimedia).
This person can be a volunteer, but please make sure this person can fulfill all of the aforementioned roles and has the time to devote. You are also welcomed to have multiple people to sit in on meetings with your design team, go through the AIR training, read the AIR guidance notes, etc.
How are the judging criteria developed?
The original Judging Criteria were developed in 1998 and based on the WCAG accessibility guidelines and Section 508 Guidelines for Web Accessibility. It has significantly been updated since then. During the periods between rallies, the judges discuss and improve the judging criteria based on changes in technologies, our own experiences evaluating websites, and input from competitors, their clients, and the accessibility community.
You can look at last year's criteria by following the link to the 2022 AIR Judging Form.
How do we choose AIR Judges?
All of the AIR judges participate as volunteers. All of the judges are experts in the area of accessibility.
Our core panel of AIR judges are internationally-recognized experts, published authors in the field of accessibility and former participants in AIR, as team members and mentors. This core group developed the judging criteria and the judges’ training manual, which is updated for each rally.
New judges are recruited by this core panel, often from among veteran participants on AIR design teams and AIR team mentors.
Couldn’t a judge’s relationship with team members or a client be a conflict of interest?
A person participating as an AIR judge does not judge any website produced by a team to which that judge has a personal or professional affiliation.
A judge who works for the same company as a team that is competing will not judge the site that the team creates. A judge who frequently consults professionally with a member of an AIR team will not judge the website built by that AIR team. A judge who has served on the board of a nonprofit client will not judge a site that is created for that client.
How do we control the quality of the judging process?
During each rally, we designate one judge as the Head Judge, who serves as a quality control judge. This person reviews the judging forms submitted by the judges, ensuring forms are complete and clear. If during the judging process a judge has a question about a particular item, he or she will send that question and the appropriate URL on to the other judges for group comment.
Each AIR site is scored independently by two different judges. If the point totals for a site vary by more than 15 points between judges, the Head Judge will review the judging forms. If errors of fact are found (one judge finds that alt text is missing and another does not), these issues are corrected and scores adjusted appropriately. If differences of objective opinion are found, such as aesthetics or appropriateness points, then the Head Judge will mediate the differences among the two judges who have reviewed the site and make final rulings on scores.
I registered as an individual, when will I be notified about my team?
We will start sending information about your team and mentor in August.
I completed registration, when will I receive access to the Learning Center?
Access to the Learning Center and the first training for the development teams will be in August 2023. Specific dates are yet-to-be-determined.
What platforms/CMS are used to develop the sites?
We are only able to develop sites that are hand coded or created through tools like WordPress, Kirby, Gatsby, or others that have made a commitment to accessibility and allow developers to access the site's HTML. Some block based tools (like Squarespace or Wix) cannot produce fully accessible websites, and are not used for the competition.
Will the trainings be recorded?
Yes, all of the AIR trainings will be recorded and available to you and your team on the Learning Center.