Recently on Twitter, members of the Drupal Community have been discussing ideas for the monetization of Drupal contributed projects (modules and themes), much of this has been happening under the tag #DrupalAppStore. There are currently over 1000 modules for Drupal 7 and almost 100 themes for Drupal 7 on Drupal.org. very Few of these have taken the D7 Accessibility Pledge (d7ax).
The Accessibility Pledge is meant as a method by which developers can indicate to the community that they are not aware of any accessibility barriers in their projects, and also that they are receptive to attempting to re mediate accessibility barriers if they are identified. This is a valuable proposition, and I believe that more developers should adopt the pledge for their projects, but I question if more can be done to improve the accessibility of the contributed projects on Drupal.org.
Our community values inclusion, and I have been very impressed with how much awareness and understanding of the importance of accessibility has grown during my two years of involvement. I would love to take the time to evaluate all 1100 projects currently posted for Drupal 7. However, I am certain that new projects will be released more quickly than I can perform evaluations. I also expect that this work would not end up paying my bills if done without community support.
In one of the Tweets about #DrupalAppStore, @Krummrey suggested that initial funding for projects could be raised through something like Kickstarter. This is in line with what many had already been saying, that there needs to be a method for those interested in a project to pool resources to ensure that the project gets completed. This isn't about anyone getting rich, but about ensuring that those who are doing needed work, that is being used freely by others, have a method of being compensated for at least a portion of the time invested into the project.
This makes me wonder whether or not there would be any benefit in using something like the Kickstarter model to assess interest and to raise funds to evaluate the accessibility of popular Drupal modules and themes. I see several benefits to using this type of model.
- More contributed projects on Drupal.org become accessible, improving the appeal of using Drupal for a project where accessibility is an imparative.
- Project maintainers are better educated about accessibility principals and best practices, by receiving a full evaluation of their project (knowledge which is transferable to other projects).
- Drupal powered web-sites, which use the projects, become more accessible to the millions in the world who are living with disabilities that affect their ability to interact with the web.
- The cost for evaluations can be spread across multiple contributors, thus lowering the economic burden for any one individual or firm.
There is clearly a significant administrative burden in attempting to initiate a project such as this, which is why sites like Kickstarter exist.
I am interested to find out, from members of the community, if the accessibility of contributed projects is an important enough priority to contribute toward financially. I am also open to ideas about how such an effort could best be organized. How can those interested be tracked, how should projects be selected, how best can accountability be ensured.