The tenth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is this Thursday, May 20th.
GAAD was launched to highlight the need for increased digital accessibility by getting people talking, thinking, and learning about digital access and inclusion for all and, more importantly, people with different abilities and talents.
Approximately 15 percent of the world’s population have a disability, according to the World Health Organization, which means that more than one billion people could face daily challenges when using digital devices.
What is Accessibility?
Accessibility is the ability of a website/mobile app/electronic document to be easily navigated and understood by the widest range of users possible, including people with visual, auditory, speech, motor, neurological or cognitive disabilities.
Note that accessibility is not a discrete feature of a website, tool, or app. It’s an on-going aspect of a managed process made up of many intentional design and development decisions, based on real-world practice, institutional policy, public standards, and awareness of the diversity of user experiences.
Why Accessibility Matters
The World Wide Web is an increasingly important resource in many aspects of life: government information and services, education and training, commerce, news, workplace interaction, civic participation, health care, recreation, entertainment, and more. In some cases, the Web is replacing traditional resources.
Therefore, it is essential that the Web be accessible in order to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with diverse abilities.
Link to Web accessibility – What does it all mean? (.docx, 17 MB) transcript.
Web accessibility is about eliminating barriers that prevent access to information and functionalities on websites.
How to Participate in GAAD 2021
- Visit the Global Accessibility Awareness Day site for a full list of events.
- Read Joe Devon’s 2011 blog post where he encouraged web developers to come together and work to bridge the accessibility gap by raising awareness and global standards. It was this blog post that inspired the creation of GAAD.
- Tune into BBC Access All Areas. The British Broadcasting Company’s Digital Accessibility teams are streaming live talks and panel discussions every day this week from 9 am-10 am EST.
- Watch the W3C/WAI series of short videos Web Accessibility Perspectives to learn about the impact of accessibility and the benefits for everyone in a variety of situations.
- Think you know all about digital accessibility? Play this accessibility trivia game.
- Learn sign language. Gallaudet University offers free online ASL lessons and free online ASL courses.
- Watch Accessibility for Web Design (must log in with W&L credentials; contact Helen MacDermott if you don’t have a Linkedin Learning account) for an introduction to web accessibility for web designers.
- Take a mini Canvas course/tutorial about web accessibility. You can self-enroll or contact Helen MacDermott for access.