Judging Committee Information

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Introduction to Judging the AIR competition

One of the most valuable aspects of AIR participation to competitive teams who are learning about accessibility is the judging process, a clear set of accessibility rules to follow in order to gain points and win the contest. When the Accessibility Internet Rally was an in-person one day hackathon, volunteer judges were on site to answer questions and provide just in time help to guide accessible development. Now that the contest occurs online only and over a period of several weeks, each team has a mentor to provide that kind of guidance and support.

There is still the critically important question of who wins – and the judging process determines that outcome. The original Judge Brothers – the lead judges for the first several years of the AIR competition – were John Slatin, Jim Allan, and Jim Thatcher. They created the AIR judging form that has been used ever since. Download the latest version of the judging form (.xlsx Excel file, 29.99KB).

While the details have been updated and modified as technology and standards changed over time, what remains constant is the ability to use the judging form as the perfect open book test. Competitors know very clearly how they will earn points and have the opportunity use the form as a kind of checklist. The goal is to improve developer awareness and skills for web accessibility. We want them to learn how to design and build with accessibility in mind, and the judging form can serve as a guide for that. Once they have completed their effort and turned in their entry, that same guidance can be applied as a judging standard – that is where you come in. Read on to learn about what judges do.


  • Basic understanding of how people with disabilities use the web and what they need to succeed
  • Expert level knowledge of accessibility standards – ATAG, UAAG, WCAG, ARIA, and BBC Mobile Accessibility Guidelines
  • If this is your first time as a judge, arrange with the Lead Judge to receive judge’s training
  • Brief written recommendation from a current or former AIR judge explaining why you would be a great candidate to be chosen to serve as a judge.
  • Experience competing in AIR prior to judging.


  • Subscribe to the Judges mailing list Judges List airjudges@knowbility.org
  • (Optional) attend online Judges Happy Hour to allow teams to ask questions before site submission.
  • Judge two or three sites. Each site is assigned to two different judges, you will receive your assignment from the Lead Judge.
  • Follow the judging process, documented in this Google Doc. Screen reader users, please enable screen reader support with CTRL+Alt+z.
  • Judges who have looked at the same site will meet and reconcile findings to determine final score.
  • Submit final score to the Lead Judge for compilation with other scores.
  • Attend Judges teleconferences and learn how to use the AIR Judging Form (.xlsx Excel file, 29.99KB)
  • If this is your first time as an AIR judge, arrange with the Lead Judge to receive judge’s training and a copy of the Judge’s Manual.

Knowbility has had great success fostering interest in accessibility through this fun friendly competition.  We hope you will join us in evolving the program to have global impact. For additional information contact AIR@knowbility.org