WWW/W4A Hackathon

We are very excited to announce that this year WWW and W4A are joining forces to run the first WWW+W4A Accessibility Hackathon being put on by Google Montreal and the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT). The aim of the hack is to take a popular product that is being used widely across the Web in workplaces and schools and make it accessible. This venture will combine the expertise of WWW web developers with the expertise of W4A accessibility researchers to produce software that can be used by anyone regardless of ability, and regardless of the technology they may be using to access the Web.

Time & Place

  • Location: Google Montreal offices (1253 Ave McGill College #150)

  • Date: Wednesday April 13, 11am to 6pm (following the WWW Keynote)

    [A shuttle will be available for transport to and from the hackathon, or participants can walk to Google in about 15 minutes]

Publicity and Rewards

  • PEAT, Google, and W4A/WWW conferences will promote the winners of the hackathon via multiple communication channels including press releases, articles, blog posts, social media, Twitter Chats and website announcements.
  • PEAT will invite the winners to headline its May 19, 2016 PEAT Talks webinar. During this special installment of PEAT’s monthly speaker series—which draws a wide audience of accessible technology stakeholders—the winners will present their innovations and help mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD).
  • Google ChromeCast for each member of the top two winning teams.

The Focus

This year our focus will be on the popular, open source H5P interactive content objects. With H5P, authors may create and edit interactive videos, presentations, games, advertisements and more.

H5P can currently be integrated with Drupal and WordPress, and will be available for a wide range of learning and content management systems through LTI (IMS Learning Tool Interoperability) in a release coming soon. Integration for Moodle, currently under development, may be available.

How it Works

Participants will be split into groups of 5 to 7 people, each group to focus on a specific element of H5P. We will aim to evenly distribute WWW and W4A members across groups, and group those with complementing interests and backgrounds. We encourage designers, coders, accessibility experts, and people with disabilities to get involved.

  • 11:00 am to 11:15 am: Program description and direction
  • 11:15 am to ~4:30pm: Hack (Pizza will be served for lunch while you work)
  • 4:30pm to 5:45pm: Lightning presentations (10 groups x 6 minutes max)
  • 5:45pm to 6:00pm: Awards


The panel of judges will evaluate each group’s presentation on a number of factors:

  1. The complexity of the work done (1:5)
  2. The effectiveness of the accessibility implementation (1:5)
  3. The group’s ability to describe how Web accessibility has been implemented in their widget. (1:5)
  4. The state of the code in preparation for a GitHub pull request — see “Get Prepped” below for guidelines on clean, documented code (1:5)


  • Greg Gay: W4A2016 & Ryerson University
  • Svein-Tore Griff: H5P
  • Ben Caldwell: PEAT
  • Stéphane Doyon: Google
  • TBA, WWW2016


Attendees who are registered for WWW or W4A are eligible to participate as part of their conference experience at no extra cost. Space is limited to 60 hackers, so be sure to sign-up early to secure your spot.

Signup for the WWW/W4A Hackathon

Get Prepped

At least one participant from each group must be setup with a development environment, local or on a remote server, that includes a working version of Drupal and a clone of the H5P code pulled from Github integrated. The clone should be pulled from the H5P code that you have forked into your own GitHub account. Award winning groups will be expected to submit a pull request to contribute their work from the hack back to the main H5P code repository. All participants are encouraged to contribute their work.

H5P WordPress integration is also available, though for most people Drupal will provide a better development experience. Be sure to indicate in the signup form if you are able to supply the development environment for a group.

Be sure to read through the H5P Documentation for developer guidelines and how to contribute. If you are already familiar with GitHub pull requests, you are already most of the way there. If not, familiarize yourself with GitHub, and be sure to understand how to fork, clone, and make pull requests.

You should also have a screen reader installed on your computer for testing and demonstrating your work. We recommend using ChromeVox, which currently has the best support for WAI-ARIA (hint), which will play a key role in many of the accessibility implementations. ChromeVox runs in the Chrome web browser, and works on all platforms.

You may also want to test with other screen readers. NVDA is a popular free open source screen reader for Windows that we would also recommend for testing, and VoiceOver will work as an alternative for Mac users. Other commercial screen readers include JAWS and Window Eyes, though the licenses can be expensive. For bonus points, groups can demonstrate their work with Talkback on an Android device, or VoiceOver on an iOS device.

For more information, visit WWW/W4A Hackathon

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