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Patron Saint of Accessibility

If you’ve been working on the web for any length of time, chances are you’ve heard of Joe Clark; accessibility guru, type aficionado, Canadian.

I subsidize Joe’s indolence. Do you?

He’s running a funding drive —a micropatronage with a $7777 target— to put food on his table for four months while he gives up his day job and goes a’beating on important government-type doors to demand the real moolah… seven million dollars to fund Open & Closed, his seven-year accessibility research project.

The Open & Closed Project is a new research project headquartered in Toronto. Our main goal is to improve quality by setting standards for the four fields of accessible media – captioning, audio description, subtitling, and dubbing. We’ll develop those standards through research and evidence-gathering. Where research or evidence is missing on a certain topic, we’ll carry it out ourselves.

We’ll test the finished standards for a year in the real world, then publish them. (You’ll be able to download them for free or buy them in several formats.) Then we’ll develop training and certification programs for practitioners. It will finally be possible to become a certified captioner (or audio describer or subtitler or dubbing artist).

We’ll also develop and test improved fonts for captioning and subtitling (already underway). We’ll develop a universal file format.

Joe’s style is often combative, and it draws as much criticism as it does praise, but you can’t fault his passion and his dedication to universal accessibility. If you’re a human being and you give a damn—and especially if you’re a web developer, media creator, or software developer and you give a damn— go and donate today.