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The University of Texas is closing its Accessibility Institute today. Non-profit Knowbility has started a petition to save it.

Though you may not have heard of the Accessibility Institute, you have been influenced by its work. Its late founder, Dr. John Slatin, was the former co-chair of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG2), and was an influential mentor to many of the web standards evangelists, including myself and current WaSP group manager, Glenda Sims. If you’ve ever attended SXSW, you know Austin has one of the most vibrant web accessibility communities in the world, thanks to the hard work of Knowbility and the University of Texas Accessibility Institute. The knowledge shared by these groups has influenced web and software developers worldwide, resulting in a more accessible web used and enjoyed by all of us, disabled or not.

The importance of accessibility research and development was echoed this week by retailer Target’s decision to settle its web accessibility discrimination lawsuit by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). The story was covered in many US and international news outlets, and the the outcome of the case is a timely wake up call to the business world that good design is accessible, universal design.

The Accessibility Institute’s influence for the greater good cannot be overstated. The decision to close it on the eve of the universal design revolution is a poor choice by the UT Administration. If you agree, please sign the petition to keep accessibility research and development alive and well.

http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/SavetheInstitute

Update: This post has been translated into Polish.

Your Replies

#1 On August 29th, 2008 4:41 pm