Employees help make web more accessible

Jan. 1, 2012

Barbara Shreffler and a teammate
Barbara Shreffler of the office of development and one of her web competition teammates stand in front of a screenshot of their award-winning site.

Two BCM employees, Barbara Shreffler and Nhan Nguyen, made the web more accessible to local nonprofits on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011, at an annual web development competition.

Shreffler, director of constituent strategies in the office of development, and Nguyen, web communications specialist in the office of communications, serve as advisory board members to Austin-based Knowbility's annual Accessibility Internet Rally-Houston, where professional web development teams around Houston compete against their peers to develop the most accessible website for area nonprofits. For $100, nonprofits receive websites they could not otherwise afford, while web developers gain essential web accessibility training.

Continued involvement

Both Shreffler and Nguyen have worked on or participated in the program over the last few years. Shreffler has brought in five nonprofits to the AIR-Houston program over the last three years as a nonprofit representative and advisory board member. Nguyen, on the winning University of Houston team in 2006, joined the advisory board in 2007, and transitioned to program manager in 2009. 2011 marks his third consecutive year as program manager.

As program manager, Nguyen coordinated board members, teams, profits, donors and vendors to ensure the program's success. Nguyen stressed the significance of web accessibility: "Accessibility helps users with physical impairments and disabilities, but also makes the web more universally accessible, and even improves search ranking and audience share. Everybody wins."

Winning entry

The program's awards dinner took place Dec. 8, 2011, with Shreffler's team taking first place in the Stock Car division for its American Voices nonprofit website.

In addition to her board membership role, Shreffler also joined the University of Houston team to develop a new website for American Voices, a nonprofit that takes American musicians abroad as cultural diplomats.