Help us, help millions.

Audio described version of AT&T NYU Connect Ability Challenge promotional video. 

Did you miss the winners event? Watch the recording here!

The AT&T NYU Connect Ability Challenge is a three-month global software development competition leveraging mobile and wireless technologies to improve the lives of people living with disabilities.

This new initiative strives to help millions of people with disabilities by matching developer talent and client users with disabilities. Together you can imagine, create and refine new innovations that break down barriers to independence and self-expression.

For these innovations to be readily accessible to people with disabilities, developers are encouraged to leverage familiar, cost-efficient smart phone, wearable and everyday wireless technologies.

Through in-person and virtual programming, the Connect Ability Challenge facilitates participatory development, embraces user-centered design and rewards universal design so new innovations can be adopted immediately and by as many people as possible.

To get started, Gus, Jason, Paul and Xian introduce themselves and their disabilities, and imagine how transformational technologies promise to improve their lives, and the lives of millions.

 Audio-described Gus Video.

Meet & learn about Gus | Ask Gus a question

photo of Gus

Audio-described Jason video.

Meet & learn about Jason | Ask Jason a question

photo of Jason

 Audio-described Paul video.

Meet & learn about Paul | Ask Paul a question

photo of Paul

 Audio-described Xian video.

Meet & learn about Xian | Ask Xian a question

photo of Xian

Help 50+ million Americans with disabilities live their best life, on their terms. Create software solutions inspired by four amazing people using technology to empower their lives.

Whether you are a software developer, UX/UI/IxD professional, designer, or another sort of technologist, you have the opportunity to help these individuals and those like them. You can create smartphone, tablet, desktop, web, or wearable solutions to enhance navigation, enable hands free communication and mobility, support more fulfilling social interactions, or address any other barrier faced by one or more of the exemplars and others living with the disabilities categorized in the Technical Briefs.

Please register for the challenge, and visit the Resources and Technical Briefs pages to learn more about submission categories and problem areas your solutions can address. Then check out our tips on building for accessibility to make sure you’re designing products for the widest use.

Organizations & Agencies

Is your organization interested in getting involved with the Connect Ability Challenge? Find out how you can participate as a partner.

View full rules

Eligibility

This challenge is open to: 

  • Individuals (who have reached the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry); Teams of eligible individuals; Organizations (up to 50 employees)
  • Organizations with over 50 employees may compete for the non-cash Large Organization Recognition Award.

Requirements

Content: Submitted solutions must leverage familiar, cost-efficient technologies to create ready-to-use solutions that “solve”a problem for people with disabilities, based on the five submission category requirements.

 See official rules and Technical Briefs for full details, and our Building for Accessibility Guide to make sure you’re designing products for the widest use.

Submission Categories: Your entry must be submitted into one of the following five prize categories.

Solutions must include a software component such as: 

  • a native smartphone or tablet solution (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile)
  • a web solution (mobile or desktop)
  • a desktop solution (Windows PC, Mac Desktop)
  • software running on other hardware (including, but not exclusive to, wearable technology, open source hardware, etc.)

Supplemental Material: You must submit a demo video (hosted on YouTube, Vimeo, or Youku) that showcases the main functionality of the solution via screencast or video and explains how your solution addresses a problem based on the five submission category requirements. You must also submit at least one image/screenshot of your working solution. (Pro tip: include end user feedback in your submssion video and make sure your video is accessible to those with sensory disabilities!)

New & Existing Solutions: Solutions may be newly created or pre-existing. If submitting an existing solution (developed prior to this competition), it must include new features/functionality added after April 6, which specifically aim to “solve” a problem for people with disabilities, based on the five submission category requirements. Participants entering existing solutions will be required to explain their solution’s new features on the submission form.

How to enter

  1. Read the Official Rules to confirm you meet all eligibility requirements.
  2. “Register” to access the submission form and start your draft.
  3. Visit the Meet the Exemplars, Technical Briefs, and Resources pages to learn more about the current problems and possible solution options.(Don’t forget to check out our tips on building for accessibility to make sure you’re designing products for the widest use.)
  4. Create a working solution that meets the requirements above, or update an existing solution.
  5. Get feedback on your solution with an end user and complete the End User Feedback Form. Remember, one of the judging criteria includes the extent to which user feedback was obtained, in particular with individuals who have a disability which the solution is designed to address.
  6. Create a demonstration video and take some screenshots of your solution. (Pro tip: include end user feedback in your submssion video and make sure your video is accessible to those with sensory disabilities!)
  7. Provide a way for us to access your solution.
  8. Submit before the deadline!

Judges

Zach Suchin

Zach Suchin
Co-Founder / CEO, Brand Knew

Marissa Shorenstein

Marissa Shorenstein
President of AT&T New York

Anita Perr

Anita Perr
Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, NYU

Jason DaSilva

Jason DaSilva
Producer/Director of AXS Lab, @AXSMap

Paul Kotler

Paul Kotler
Student, Blogger, Lecturer, and Advocate, @pdkotler

Gus Chalkias

Gus Chalkias
Assistive Technology Specialist in Blindness, @gussiec

Xian Horn

Xian Horn
Teacher, Speaker, Blogger and Beauty Advocate, @XianForBeauty83

Jerry Weisman

Jerry Weisman
Principal, Rehabilitation Technology Services / President, Assistive Technology Solutions, Inc.

Paul Schwartz

Paul Schwartz
Assistive Technology Services Manager, Stout Vocational Rehabilitation Institute (SVRI), University of Wisconsin-Stout

Victor Calise

Victor Calise
Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

Aaron W. Bangor, Ph.D., CHFP

Aaron W. Bangor, Ph.D., CHFP
AT&T Lead Accessible Technology Architect

Judging Criteria

  • Quality of the Idea/Vision
    Includes creativity and originality of the idea.
  • Implementation of the Idea
    Includes how well the idea was executed by the developer, the sophistication of the technology, and the ease of use for the target user.
  • Potential Impact
    Includes the potential impact the solution has on assisting people with disabilities overcome barriers that restrict and strain everyday life.
  • Demonstration of Feedback by the End User
    Includes the extent to which user feedback was obtained, in particular with individuals who have a disability which the solution is designed to address. (Consider completing and uploading the End User Feedback Form.)