Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is just a few days away on Thursday, May 18. The mission of is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion, and the more than one million people with disabilities/impairments.
GAAD started because of a single blog post written by web developer Joe Devon. He issued a challenge that accessibility understanding needed to go mainstream with web developers. From that post in November 2011, the first date for GAAD was established the following May. You can read more about the origins of GAAD on its website, including a link to Joe’s original post.
Why GAAD is Important?
People don’t talk about digital accessibility enough. That’s true for web developers, which is why Joe wrote that first blog post, and anyone else who works on website or apps. It’s also true for anyone, like creative entrepreneurs, who create digital content on their website, in emails, and on social media.
If you’re already producing accessible content, GAAD can be a perfect day for you to highlight that as a way to remind/inform the people who follow you that everyone has a responsibility toward creating an accessible, inclusive web.
If you’re not yet creating content with accessibility in mind, it’s a great time to begin. Don’t forget, you can start small—one blog post at a time, one email newsletter at a time, one social media post at a time. You might only focus on meaningful alternative text for images, or maybe making sure you’re always creating use proper color contrast rules. Whatever it is, it’s time to begin. From there, you can expand what you create in an accessible manner.
GAAD is a great time to learn. On the GAAD website, there are currently 175 events listed happening on or around that day. You could also read, or re-read, sections of Content for Everyone as you consider the steps you’ll take for the accessibility of your digital content.
What I’m Doing for GAAD
I have to admit, as the week gets started, I’m still deciding on which GAAD events I’m going to attend. There are many great options and I just have to decide which I’m going to attend live and which I’ll watch as replays. I’ll report back what I attended in a future blog post.
I’m also taking part in a few events as well. For UsableNet, I’m taking part in three events. On Wednesday, May 17, I’m presenting a UsableNet webinar of the session I did at the CSUN Assistive Technology Conference back in March. (If you missed it, you can read my post about CSUN.) On GAAD itself, I’ll be taking part in online events for two companies where I’ll talk about various aspects of digital accessibility, providing screen reader demonstrations, and answering questions.
On the Content for Everyone side, on Friday, May 19, I’m doing a Facebook Live session for authors who are part of a private networking group. I’ll be talking about meaningful alternative text, what to do when using images of text, proper link text, color contrast rules, and more.
I’m looking forward to attending sessions and learning for myself, as well as educating others too.
However you approach your accessibility journey during GAAD 2023, I hope you find it inspiring and meaningful. If you’d like to share what you did for GAAD, I’d love to read about it in the comments section.