Accessibility Hack

Calling all designers, coders, accessibility experts, and people with disabilities to participate in our Accessibility Hack

Please Join Us!

W4A and WWW are joining forces for an Accessibility Hack hosted by Bankwest and the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology. The Hack combines the expertise of WWW web professionals and W4A accessibility researchers to produce software that can be used by anyone regardless of ability or the technology they are using to access the web.

We hope you will participate! We can promise you exposure to new tools, other experts in the field, and a chance to build your accessible technology skill sets. This is an amazing opportunity to further your educational and career goals in the realm of accessible technology.

Read more about last year’s inaugural Hack.

Prizes will be awarded to finalists and winners! Those who have registered for the W4A or WWW conference may participate in the Hackathon free of charge. If you would like to participate in only the Hackathon, there is a fee of $50 AUD which you can pay on our Eventbrite page. Once you have registered for the W4A/WWW conference or paid the standalone Hackathon fee, please register for the Hackathon (you will be asked to provide either your W4A/WWW registration number or your Eventbrite confirmation number).

Download the Accessibility Hack Flyer

Time & Place

Location: Bankwest Place Podium

Address: 1st Floor, 300 Murray Street, Perth WA 6101, Australia

  • Monday, April 3, 2017 from 12:30 pm – 5:30 pm: Accessibility Hack (lunch provided)
  • Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 5:00 pm: Awards announcement and presentation at the W4A closing ceremony (winners are not required to attend)

Transportation: Bankwest Place Podium is just a five-minute walk from the main Convention Centre, but buses within the Perth central business district are also available free of charge.

The Hack Target

This year’s W4A theme is The Future of Accessible Work. Keeping with this theme, we will focus on TAO®, a leading open source assessment platform used in public sector employment and educational settings. Open Assessment Technologies S.A. is in the process of developing and commercializing the platform.

The TAO platform has an active development community and a growing workplace user base focused on:

  • Pre-employment testing
  • Online applications
  • Employee assessments
  • Online learning and training
  • Skills assessments and professional certification programs
  • Web-based surveys and tests
  • Compliance reporting

What to Expect

We will distribute participants with different skill sets across groups of five to seven people. Groups will choose a project related to accessibility in an employment scenario, such as:

  • Integrating an open source text-to-speech solution
  • Implementing accessibility improvements related to the test authoring environment
  • Integrating accessibility-specific reminders, flags, and checks to the test authoring environment


We are pleased to have the following judges determine the Hack winners:

  • Mike Paciello, Founder/Partner, The Paciello Group
  • Vivienne Conway, Director, Web Key IT
  • Ross Yates, Manager, Project Management Office, MercyCare
  • David Masters, Microsoft
  • Andrew Arch, Accessibility & Inclusivity Lead, Digital Transformation Agency
  • Ted Drake, Principal Accessibility Engineer, Intuit

The panel of judges will evaluate each group’s presentation based on several factors:

  • The complexity of the work performed
  • The effectiveness of the accessibility implementation
  • The group’s ability to describe the implementation of web accessibility in their project
  • The state of the code in preparation for a GitHub pull request

What will I need for the Hack?

In addition to motivation to improve the accessibility of TAO, a willingness to share your knowledge and learn from others, and a bit of creative energy, participants should bring a laptop, charger, and any mobile devices that would be useful for team collaboration.

At least one participant from each group will need to install and configure a development environment (local or on a remote server) that includes a working version of TAO and a copy of the code pulled from GitHub integrated. The clone should be pulled from the TAO testing code that you have forked into your own GitHub account. Groups that are able to implement accessibility solutions during the hack will be expected to submit a pull request to contribute their work from the hack back to the main TAO code repository. One or more members of each group should also have a screen reader installed for testing and demonstrating your work.

More detailed information will be provided after signup. Please indicate in the signup form if you are able to supply a development environment for your group.

See you at the Hack!

Development Environment Setup

TAO uses a Composer based workflow to assemble various modules and code components into a given installation. For the hack, we’ll be working from the “develop” branch of various projects listed in the Open Assessment Technologies GitHub repository. In most cases, you’ll want to pull a copy of the develop branch of package-tao and build the project using composer, replacing the resulting code where appropriate with a checked out version of your forked copy of the TAO project that your group is working on.

There are a few options for setting up a local development available:

Option 1: Automatic Install

This option is available for Windows Desktops only and works by installing a copy of the XAMPP on your local machine.

  1. Download and run the TAO Community Edition Installer. This will get you a basic TAO installation that you can use to learn more about how the software works.
  2. To switch to the develop branch, you can check out the [develop branch of package-tao]   to your local machine and build it using the instructions found in the readme file of that project. Once complete, you can replace the contents of C:\xampp\htdocs with your build.

Option 2: Manual Install

Installing manually means that you’ll need to set up your own local or external web server. TAO recommends Apache 2: version 2.4; PHP server configuration: version 5.5 or later; MySQL server configuration: version 5.0 or later; PostgreSQL: version 7.0 or later. Additional details and requirements related to manual installation can be found in the Installing TAO section of the TAO user guide.

For Mac users, follow the instructions found in Install TAO on your Mac tutorial. You can use composer to build the TAO installation in your /Applications/MAMP/htdocs folder.

Option 3: Docker

If you’re familiar with Docker, you can use the TAO Development Docker Environment instructions to set up a local Docker environment.

Other Resources

IMS Test Samples – This file contains an example test that can be imported into a local development environment after setup. It contains a variety of samples as described in the QTI 2.2 implementation guide.

Prizes By:





  1. Winning Team: Each 1TB Xbox Set
  2. Runner Up Team: Each 500GB Xbox Set


Highlights from the 2016 Accessibility Hack


Important Dates

  • W4A 2017 April 2 to 4
  • Submission deadline Jan 6, 2017
  • Author Notifications Feb 6, 2017
  • Camera ready Feb 27, 2017