EvoXLabs, An Initiative to Serve Philadelphia Through Accessible Web Technologies, Launches - Generocity Philly

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Jan. 23, 2015 11:30 am

EvoXLabs, An Initiative to Serve Philadelphia Through Accessible Web Technologies, Launches

Ather Sharif, an SJU graduate student, launched the new initiative in the beginning of January.

athersharifAther Sharif, a software engineer and web developer who became a quadriplegic due to a car accident in March of 2013, has experienced firsthand how a lack of accessibility can lead to major hurdles for people with disabilities.

He launched EvoXLabs in the beginning of January in an effort to serve people with disabilities in Philadelphia through accessible web technologies.

Sharif, who is a full time computer science graduate student at Saint Joseph’s University, said the initatives aims to provide people with vision impairment an improved web experience as well as provide nonprofit organizations in Philadelphia  with free websites and web-apps which are modern and completely accessible.

“I strongly believe in giving back to the community through whatever skillset one may have, and researching and enhancing Web Accessibility and helping the nonprofits of Philadelphia with the development of free and accessible websites are amongst the list of things, which I, as a web developer, give back to the community,” he said in an email.

EvoXLabs is run by volunteers who contribute in whatever way they can. So far, they have developed two jQuery plugins, evoFonts and evoGraphs, according to Sharif.

“evoFonts is a jQuery plugin designed to make websites more friendly for people with vision limitations. It provides the viewer with three font choices and dynamically increases or decreases the font size of the page based on the selection. evoGraphs is a jQuery plugin that creates screen-reader friendly graphs,” he explained.

They’ve also developed the SCI Video Blog, which provides video tutorials and blog articles on how to navigate areas that are difficult for people with spinal cord injuries.

In addition, Sharif said the team is currently working with a few nonprofit organizations to make their websites accessible through its FAWN initiative, which stands for Free and Accessible Web for Nonprofits.

“It is an initiative to provide free and screen-reader friendly websites to the non-profit organizations of Philadelphia to support their great cause and advocate and highlight the importance of making the web accessible to people with vision impairment,” said Sharif.

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Next up for Sharif and his team is working on the evoGraphs plugin and making it so it includes more types of graphs. Future projects for the team include mapping the SJU campus for accessibility, and making accessible D3 Visualizations.

Learn more about EvoXLabs at http://evoxlabs.org/ 

Image via EvoXLabs

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Kristen Gillette is a local freelance writer. A Temple University grad, she is currently a Community Engagement Fellow at Groundswell and is also founder of Adult Ballerina Project, a website for beginner ballerinas.

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