Connect with Others
The web accessibility community is full of people who care about what they do and are eager to help others. You will almost certainly be more successful if you can become part of this community. You can lean on others as you begin, and then you can provide support and encouragement as your experience and confidence grows. Below are opportunities to connect and collaborate with others face-to-face and online.
The Accessibility Internet Rally (AIR)—Powered by Knowbility, this is a great opportunity for nonprofits and developers to team up in learning about accessibility. Small groups of designers and developers are paired with a nonprofit to teach accessibility principles and assist in the development of an accessible website. At the end of the collaboration, the nonprofit has an accessible website that they publish in place of their current site.
If you are willing and able to meet people face-to-face, this is usually one of the best ways to accelerate your knowledge and enthusiasm. The web accessibility community is pretty tight knit, and you may find yourself making lifelong friends that you look forward to seeing at future events. Here are a few places to meet with, and learn from, others.
- Web Accessibility “Meetup”—All over the world, groups gather together in “meetups” to socialize and collaborate on web accessibility. There might be a meetup near you.
- The Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC)—NTC is the standout conference on technology in the nonprofit sector. There are typically a few sessions on accessibility topics. The producers of this conference—NTEN—have also formed an accessibility committee and published an accessibility guide for their conference.
- CSUN Assistive Technology Conference—Thousands of people from various fields gather at this conference that centers on using technology to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Web accessibility is always one of the biggest topics.
- ATIA conference—The East-Coast version of CSUN, provided by the Assistive Technology Industry Association.
Not everyone has the funding or the desire to travel to accessibility meetups and conferences. Fortunately, there are active online communities as well. Below are just a few resources you may want to check out.
Did you know?
“A11y” is short for the word “accessibility”: the first letter, the last letter, and 11 letters in between. It has the additional benefit of looking like the word “ally”.
- #a11y on Twitter—If you are already active on Twitter (or if you have always wanted to be more active), search for hashtags or usernames that contain “a11y” or “accessibility,” join a few that look promising, and jump in.
- You can also participate in web accessibility communities on other social media such as Facebook or LinkedIn.
- WebAIM email discussion list—The WebAIM web accessibility mailing list is for anyone interested in discussing web accessibility issues. Individuals from all organizations and specialties are encouraged to join.
- A11y Weekly—The name says it all—it’s a weekly email newsletter of curated accessibility resources. This is a great resource for those just starting their journey into web accessibility, or for anyone who wants to stay up-to-date.