Priv. company joins university in training students in web accessibility | Innovative Practice 2018

Annie Carrillo from Mexoco’s HearColors talking on “Web Accessibility Laboratories” After Mexico ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008, a series of legal reforms, including the topic of web accessibility. In spite of this progress, implementation remains slow. The biggest challenge is the lack of accessibility professionals in Mexico. In 2014 Hearcolors was born with the mission of making web accessibility accessible, affordable and attainable. Creating capacities and awareness were crucial. Our approach was to build a network of committed stakeholders and end users. Our first target partner were the Universities. Our objective was to engage them to attain a sustainable process to create capabilities on digital accessibility, help clients from the public and private sectors implement accessibility and develop social impact projects. The first Lab was launched in 2015. We started with 7 volunteer students that learned accessibility and did research on accessible components. Although the results were positive, there was a lack of commitment from the students. In 2016, we launched a second Lab with UNAM through a paid internship program. Three main results of UNAM´s first year of activities: An accessible website template was developed by the students, which was donated to NGO´s Assessments of the accessibility of the main UNAM sites were produced Group of committed professionals, enthusiastic to start their career with the added value of accessibility skills. In 2018 the call for applications has innovative changes: students from other than computer science BA will be accepted, including designers. Students with disabilities will also be targeted and new services will be provided such as remediation of digital documents. We believe in positioning the Labs as an affordable option for web accessibility services in Mexico. Clients win by solving their accessibility problems at a very competitive price and we produce new generations of professionals with digital accessibility capabilities. We are ready to expand to other cities and countries. Sine qua non factors: Paid students, University has to understand and believe in the business opportunity, Patience: first year is an investment, second year results come forward

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