Houston-area residents and non-profit organizations will gain greater Internet accessibility through brand new websites from the Sixth Annual Accessibility Internet Rally for Houston (AIR Houston) scheduled to kick off this month. Web design professionals and non-profits are encouraged to sign up to participate.
The AIR Houston competition provides complimentary training in Web accessibility to professional Web developers. Once they are trained, Web design teams will compete, showcasing their talents as they donate their newly-acquired accessible design skills to a Houston-area non-profit organization with the explicit goal of bringing website access for individuals with disabilities.
"The entire process and goal of AIR Houston is phenomenal because we're able to do something very tangible to help organizations that wouldn't normally have access to professional web designers," said Rod Jimenez, CEO, Whiteboard Labs. "I think that both the non-profits and the web design teams like ours come out winners by sheer participation and the willingness to be part of something which helps those with disabilities have a better chance of seeing the world through the web."
Non-profit organizations signed up so far to benefit from a new website design include Clayton Library Friends, Bird Dog Development Research Resources, Baytown Christian Fellowship and Miss Wheelchair America. Web development teams signed up to help the non-profits include Whiteboard Labs, City of Houston, and Pop Labs.
"This incredible competition offers area non-profits who cannot afford great website designers the opportunity to benefit from a professional design and help their organization at the same time," explained Christine Hollinden, Chair, AIR Houston 2009, and CEO of Hollinden Professional Services Marketing. "The huge advantage of this event from the web designer perspective is the ability to give back to the community by designing new sites for non-profits and having those new sites reach more individuals because they are more accessible. Though the economy has not been kind to many web development firms, I hope that more firms will step up to participate."
The AIR competition has two categories; Stock Car and Formula One. The Stock Car class sites are judged on basic accessibility, like text alternatives for pictures and the quality of link text, while Formula One entries are judged on advanced technologies like multimedia, data tables, flash, and scripted applications.
About Accessibility Internet Rally for Houston (AIR Houston)
Created by the nonprofit advocacy group Knowbility, and sponsored by the University of Houston, Rice University, the City of Houston and other community leaders, the AIR Houston brings web accessibility awareness and training to the Houston community. AIR Houston is an award-winning, Website-building competition held annually in Houston and around the nation in major cities. This competition has been recognized for excellence and innovation by business and political leaders and was first held in Houston in 2004.