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Guide for Artists and NPOs

The What and Why of AIR

What is the Accessibility Internet Rally? What does it mean for a website to be "accessible?" Why should I be thinking about accessibility on my website? If you are asking yourself these questions, or wondering what it's like to participate in AIR as a nonprofit or artist, please browse the resources on this page.

What is the Accessibility Internet Rally?

The Accessibility Internet Rally is a unique design competition that builds partnerships between nonprofits and artists like you and teams of volunteer web developers, designers and other tech specialists. The end goal of this partnership is a new or improved website for your organization that is fully accessible to people with disabilities, plus information and resources that you can use in the future to help maintain the accessibility of your site.

What do you mean by "accessibility?"

When a website, app or other digital resource is accessible, it means that it has been designed so that people with disabilities can use it. Think of a website like a building - architects and interior designers can add features like elevators, Braille signage and automatic doors to help people with all types of disabilities navigate the building and find what they need inside. Websites work the same way! If a website has good design and accessible features, people with disabilities can navigate the pages, find information and interact with elements like forms and menus.

If you would like to learn more about the features that make a website accessible, or the types of assistive technologies that people use to visit websites, please check out this resource from the Web Accessibility Initiative: How People with Disabilities Use the Web

Are people with disabilities visiting my website?

Most likely yes! One in four people who use the internet have a disability. These disabilities can include age related disabilities like gradual vision or hearing loss and mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. You may have members of your team, program donors or volunteers with disabilities who are visiting your site every day! People who encounter an inaccessible website may not necessarily speak up - they may simply leave the site to look for other programs or resources that are accessible to them.

Who can sign up for AIR? Is my organization a good fit?

AIR is open to nonprofit organizations and charities with a 501(c)3 designation as well as visual and performing artists. You can register your program to have a completely new website, or a revision of an existing site.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you think about registration:

  • The AIR program runs from September to November

  • You are required to provide all content for the website (including page names, written content, images and videos) to your team.

  • Your team will want to meet with you periodically during their development period to check in and ask questions.

  • Due to the time frame and scope of AIR, our program best serves organizations and artists who have or will need a relatively small site (ideally fifteen pages or fewer).

  • 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 access to the site's HTML. Some block based tools cannot produce fully accessible websites, so we cannot use those tools for this competition. If you have a question about the tool that you use or plan to use for your site, please ask us at air@knowbility.org.

What happens after I register?

After you register, the next step is to make sure that you have all the page names, written material, images and content collected so that you can share that information with your developer team.

You will be introduced to your team at our kickoff event, whether you attend virtually or in person. When you meet your team, you will work together to decide how you will stay in touch during the Rally and how frequently you would like to meet while they build your website.

What will I learn from the AIR program?

When you participate in the AIR program, you will learn the techniques and skills that you will need to keep your website accessible as you make changes and updates in the future.

We offer live trainings that you can view again and again through our online learning center, as well as a collection of online resources that you can use to find additional information on accessible website development. Through our learning center, you will also have access