what it’s like to work with a AIR design development team

Hello again! I’m Jayne Cravens with
Knobility and in this video I’m talking to the clients of the Accessibility
Internet Rally, the nonprofits, NGOs, charities, schools, artists and other
organizations & individuals who are participating in the AIR hackathon as
clients to have websites built for them by the web designer/development teams
that are volunteering for this event. You should have received information about the AIR kickoff event, when you are matched with your web design and
development teams. After this kickoff event, you will start working directly
with the team you are matched with. Your web design/development team is made up of volunteers. They are donating their time and skills to build you a fully
accessible website. There’s no need to CC me, Your Knowbility liaison, on your
communications with your web design/ development team. You can CC me if
there’s an urgent issue that you think I might be able to help with it. This may
be your first experience with virtual volunteering, in working with online
volunteers who are remote to where you are. The good news is that working with
online volunteers is a lot like working with any consultants. You just need to
answer their emails and phone calls and questions promptly. Gaining this virtual
volunteering experience is another benefit of participating in AIR, one that
I hope you will brag about on your website and to current and potential
funders. Before you work with your team, you will have already done most of what
you need to do: if you have a website, you will have it as up-to-date as possible
for your design team, as well as preparing any additional information you
want on your new site. If you don’t have a website, you received lots of guidance
from Knobility on preparing your materials for your web design team. The
staff at Knowbility, a nonprofit organization itself, works with online
volunteers frequently. In fact, many of our employees and consultants are
engaged in telecommuting with us, working from another site, another state, even another country. For instance, Knowbility is based in Austin,
Texas, but I live in Portland Oregon. You are going to get contact information for your design development team and they are going to get your contact
information within hours of the kickoff event. For that excellent relationship
and worthwhile experience to happen, please make a commitment to meet with
your team via phone or Skype or some other avenue as soon as possible after
the kickoff, and make a commitment to answer any message from a member of your design team within 24 hours of you are receiving it, even if the initial answer from you is a quick message saying you’re unavailable for a few days for some
critical reason and when you will be available. It is your design team’s
responsibility to reach out to you after the kickoff event and to set up the
first meeting with you. If there are any communications issues, please contact me
so we can figure out what’s going on and to get you back on track. How many hours
a week does it take to work with your team? Not as many as you might think. For
most organizations, it’s only a couple of hours a week during the hackathon. You’ve
done most of your work before the hackathon begins: you’ve had to get all
of your material ready for the web design team and that takes longer than
actually working with the team itself. In years past, we’ve set up a base camp
project, a virtual workspace, where you and your design and development team can communicate. We find this is often a much better way than email since you’re
likely to have lots of communications with your design team and AIR emails can
get lost amid all your other many emails. With Basecamp or whatever virtual
platform we’re using, you have all of your communications and materials about
AIR in one place for easy reference by both you and your design team. The design
team will have access to your client survey and your Basecamp project
immediately following the AIR kick-off event. At your first meeting with your
design development team, which you set up with them directly, you should have your
client survey in front of you and you should all go over it
together. Design teams often have to stop everything regarding their work until
they get an answer from you about a specific question. By answering their
inquiries quickly and as completely as possible you are showing that you care
about their work and that you highly value their volunteer time. And it allows
them to get back to work on your site. The quicker you answer their questions,
the more you can meet their requests to talk and collaborate, the more likely you
will get a site that fits your needs. You can work with your team however you
all agree to work together: via Basecamp, email, via skype, via phone, via a
screen sharing platform – whatever you choose. The design team will NOT ask you
to purchase any software in order to work with them, but they may ask you if
you’re able to download some free application that they really love and
want to use with you. If they make this request, they will also provide you with
all the technical support for using such. You are the client for this design
development team and you are an expert in your own field. Just because you may
not be a web designer or web developer doesn’t mean you don’t have important
input and guidance for your team. Always feel free to share your opinion. Please never be intimidated to ask questions of your team. If you are concerned about
being able to manage a feature that your team is proposing, say so! If you are
concerned about something being too complex that they are developing, per
your internal capabilities for web site management, say so! If you don’t
understand something they are proposing say, “I’m not understanding this and I
really need to!” In addition to the design team, there is an accessibility expert, a
volunteer mentor, who is matched to each team. This mentor will be providing
expert guidance on various accessibility issues. You may see some communications from someone calling him or herself an AIR mentor or hear someone on a call
with your team using that phrase. The mentor is a contact primarily for the designers and developers, but by all means, if a
mentor says something or ask something and you want input on it, speak up! If at
any time you have challenges regarding your team, if you are having trouble
reaching your team, if you feel your team has not responded to you properly, if you
feel your team might not understand something that you’ve said, please
contact me or someone else from Knowbility. We’ll do
our best to facilitate and get things back on track.
Please note that your experience can be FUN! After you are matched to your team,
Knowbility encourages you to send your team a group photo with everyone in your
office a photo that you take specifically for your team. You can be
holding a sign that says “thank you” or “hello.” You could all be jumping up at
once. You could all be waving. Whatever you’d like to do! In fact, you can send a
photo every now and again to your design team maybe every other week, just for
some encouragement. It could be a theme: you could all be wearing silly hats in a
photo. You could all be eating pizza and send it with a message that says “we’re
pretending we’re having lunch with you!” You may, however, want to remind the team
that you don’t want your fun, inspirational photos to end up on the
website – unless you DO want them on the website! You may send your team something with your organization’s logo on it like a t-shirt, coffee mug, a pen… you can send
this via postal mail to them. You do not have to send items for the entire team –
just one symbolic item would be fine. This is entirely optional for you. You’re
under no obligation to do it and we really do NOT want you to buy things for
your team! Just if you have something lying around with your logo on it and
you want to send it to them, or a card that your entire office signs, please, by
all means, do that. I also have a training video for the web design development
teams on how to work with you, the client. You can watch it and see what it’s like
and see what I tell them. It’s about seven minutes long and it’s available
on the Knowbility YouTube channel. The judging of the websites takes about
three to five weeks but you can start using your website before the judging
ends, because judges receive a special static form of the website – that’s what
they use to review for judging. Also, as the five-week competition nears its end,
you will be asked to complete a survey to evaluate both your experience working
with your team and your experience working with Knowbility. It is vital that
you submit this evaluation to Knowbility by the deadline date. We use this
feedback both in the scoring for the teams and improving our work with
clients during the Accessibility Internet Rally.
Many times when Knowbility has held this event, it’s the score from the nonprofit
or artist about their design team that has been the deciding factor on who wins
this hackathon competition. If you don’t fill out the survey, your design team
gets a zero for that part of the evaluation. You’ll get lots more
information about the evaluation and how to fill it out and frequent reminders
about it later. It’s not hard to do. It’s very easy to do. I just want to make sure
you’re expecting to do it. As the hackathon ends, you’re welcome to invite
your team to sign up for your newsletter, if you have such, to like you on Facebook,
to follow you on Twitter, etc. But please note that most design teams cannot
provide support to you after the AIR hackathon ends. The design team members are volunteers, most with full-time jobs, or in full-time university studies, and
their commitment to Knowbility & to AIR and to the participating clients is only
during the hackathon itself. If after the competition ends you need support for
your website, please contact Knowbility and a staff member or one of our volunteers
will try to help you. Please also view and download the file
after AIR: Recruiting Volunteers to Help With Your Website. When the design period ends, Knowbility staff will immediately begin to work with you to get access to your new
website and to move it to your web host. If you do not already have a website, please review our guidance note on getting a domain name
and a web host. This information has been shared with you already both via email
and it’s going to be shared via your Basecamp project, but I want to remind
you that it’s there and I will again as the competition closes. We strongly
encourage at least one member of your staff to view live both the kickoff event and the award ceremony. Knowbility hosts both of these events in Austin, Texas and both events are broadcast live online. In fact, you
can invite all of your employees and volunteers to view the event from
wherever they are. You are also invited to attend the events in person if you
will be in Austin Texas. Some nonprofits and artists have felt so strongly about
their participation that they’ve arranged for a representative or two to
get to Austin, Texas and attend the events in person. If you plan to attend
either event in person, do let us know so we can acknowledge you on camera during
the event for everybody to see. Complete details about both of the events are released in plenty of time beforehand so you can make plans. We want clients and
design teams to have an excellent relationship with each other and to have
a great experience with this hackathon. We want great websites and we want
worthwhile experiences. Thanks for watching. Good luck!

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