I’m embarking on an exciting new project that will help create awareness about web accessibility and begin training the next generation of web accessibility advocates.

First the backstory:

Last year my daughter followed the Iditarod as part of a 2nd grade class project at her school.  We had adopted our new dog Rafe earlier in the year and given his lineage, my daughter was fascinated by the Iditarod.  Part of the class project included choosing a single musher to follow throughout the race.  My daughter chose Rachael Scdoris.

Rachael is legally blind. She made history in 2005 becoming the first visually impaired athlete to compete in the Iditarod.  Rachael’s story of hope, courage, and determination has attracted national and international media attention. She has been featured in numerous newspapers, magazines and national TV and Radio shows, and has been formally honored for her accomplishments by numerous groups.

In typical Millennial style, my daughter e-mailed Rachael to wish her good luck.  In this e-mail I added that Rachael’s website did not meet web accessibility standards. Thus began a conversation that sets the stage for my new project.

Over the next couple of months, I will be working with a group of 3rd graders at my daughter’s elementary school  to develop a new site for Rachael that will focus on accessibility.  Rachael, in addition to being a world-class athlete, is an advocate for people with visual disabilities and hopes this project will help raise awareness about web accessibility and the many myths that prevent people from fully understand accessibility.

The goals for this project are to teach the students about people with disabilities and how they use computers, teach the basics on how to create a web site with an emphasis on accessibility, and have the students help me create a new site for Rachael that will be fully accessible.

This should be a great experience for all involved. The students are excited and hopefully this project will help create awareness about web accessibility.

I will leave you with a 30 second introduction to Rachael and the incredible courage and determination it takes to complete in the Iditarod.

Rachael Scdoris, Iditarod Visionary