January 22, 2024

Growing Anthology’s Accessibility Culture: Our Journey as Part of Knowbility’s Accessibility Internet Rally

Digital accessibility is crucial to ensure that all learners, regardless of their abilities, have equal opportunity to learn and participate in an online learning environment. To meet the accessibility needs of higher education institutions, Anthology is committed to deploying solutions that empower students to learn in a format that best fits their personal preferences. Our dedication is evident at every stage of the product design and development process, with accessibility champions seamlessly integrated into each development phase.

As a part of Anthology’s ongoing efforts to build accessibility into our SaaS solutions and organizational culture, a cross functional team participated in Knowbility’s Accessibility Internet Rally (AIR). AIR aims to highlight fun and practical ways for web designers to make websites more accessible. In this competition, Anthology was paired with Camp Possibilities International (CPI), a blind-led non-profit organization that supports children, youth, and young adults who are blind or visually impaired through adaptive sports.

Our combined team included talented individuals across the business.

Camp Possibilities International (CPI) Team Members

  • Helen Kiprono, Founder and Chair
  • Loice Bunei, Director
  • Peter Slatin, Director
  • Antonio Guimaraes, Secretary

Anthology Accessibility Advocates (AAA) Team Members:

  • Amy Lomellini, Product Accessibility Lead – AAA Team Captain
  • Jason Knoll, Product Manager for Anthology Encompass – AAA Project Manager
  • Katy Huang, UX Designer for Anthology Engage – AAA UX Designer
  • Gadipudi Ramya Sri, Software Developer for Anthology Student – AAA Developer
  • Panjugula Priyanka, Software Developer for Anthology Student – AAA Developer
  • Pramod Sasanakota, Software Quality Engineering Lead for Anthology Student – AAA Quality Assurance

Accessibility Mentors:

  • Naveesha Maharaj
  • Natalie Tucker

Throughout the eight week competition, these six Anthologists met regularly with CPI’s team to raise awareness for global digital accessibility while creating an accessible website to support the non-profit’s mission. The team was also able to forge a lasting friendship and partnership with CPI and our mentors at Knowbility, grounded in mutual trust and a shared commitment to constructing a web that is accessible and inclusive.

In a recent interview, the combined team shared their insights on the collaboration, key takeaways, and impacts for their respective organization.

How do you see a more accessible website benefiting the children Camp Possibilities International serves?  

Our accessible website is the open door that shows our commitment to this cause from the moment of arrival. Without this asset, we could not ask to be taken seriously. The accessibility of our website shows the full value that creating access has for the children we serve. 
- Peter Slatin (Director, CPI)

I imagine some of the children and youth we serve might see themselves featured on our site, and then feel excited about a world beyond their present one. That spark might inspire them to reach for unimagined goals not yet pursued by other blind people in their communities. 
- Antonio Guimaraes (Secretary, CPI)

How will the competition takeaways be incorporated into the work you do at Anthology and future projects? 

My approach to accessibility has evolved with the support of my fellow Anthologists on this project and the folks from CPI. I was exposed to new tools and actual screen reader users’ preferences regarding the various accessibility considerations like navigation, alternative text, heading levels, links vs. buttons, etc. I foresee the lessons learned from this experience will help me be a better communicator when it comes to addressing existing accessibility-related issues or designing a new feature with expanded accessibility in mind. 
- Katy Huang (UX Designer for Anthology Engage)

I have a better understanding of the importance of considering accessibility as part of my regular development work, which helps the application to be easily accessible by every individual. I will be testing my site with accessibility tools available and try to ensure Student is accessible to a diverse range of users. 
- Gadipudi Ramya Sri (Developer for Anthology Student)

Anthology emphasizes the importance of digital accessibility as part of a broader commitment to recognizing and respecting the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. By fostering inclusivity in the digital space, both in our products and in our organizational culture, we contribute to building a more accessible and equitable world for everyone. Learn more about Anthology’s commitment to accessibility through the Anthology Trust Center.