What is Global Accessibility Awareness Day?
Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) occurs on the third Thursday of every May and raises awareness on digital inclusion and making the web more accessible for people with disabilities.
The idea for GAAD was born in 2011 by web developer Joe Devon who was frustrated by the oversight on accessibility. Devon wrote a blog article emphasizing a lack of accessibility consideration by developers and how too many users could not participate equally on the internet. He called for a day to recognize the knowledge gap and encourage everyone to do their part toward achieving digital accessibility for all.
Accessibility professional, Jennison Asuncion, discovered the article and immediately contacted Devon. The two began working closely with the common goal of accessibility awareness and usability.
Their accessibility goals came to fruition the very next year. The first official Global Accessibility Awareness Day was launched in 2012 and has grown in popularity and recognition ever since.
This year, GAAD will occur on May 18 and features many events and activities, both in-person and virtual, across the globe.
Why is GAAD important?
“If you make it usable, it will be accessible.”
The quote from Matt Ater, Vispero’s Vice President of Business Development, echoes the sentiment and the intention of GAAD. By taking the time to strategize and develop the most usable digital assets, your organization is already working towards a more accessible future.
In a 2014 interview, Asuncion shared his thoughts on GAAD and emphasized the importance of evangelizing accessibility. Awareness starts with conversation, and GAAD is designed to normalize communication around inclusion and familiarize everyone with digital accessibility.
A lack of access to digital resources impacts more people than you might think. More than one billion people experience some form of disability or impairment. It’s a percentage of the population that can’t be ignored. GAAD reminds us of our moral obligation to support one another and engage in a dialog about how we can address accessibility and inclusion.
No one is exempt from potentially needing accessibility services, either. As we age, we tend to acquire disabilities like vision, hearing, and mobility loss, impacting how we live and interact with the world.
Consequently, as the digital world continues advancing and becoming a more integral part of our lives, we must ensure everyone has equal access.
Accessibility benefits everyone.
How can you Celebrate GAAD?
Regardless of your time or resources, there are multiple ways you can celebrate GAAD. In addition to attending or promoting some of the organized events for the day, you can participate directly and spread awareness.
Action items can be as simple as adding captions to a video, adding alt-text to images on your website, or writing a blog post to more advanced activities like outlining a digital accessibility initiative or reaching out to other organizations to assist you in promoting the day.
The most important actions you can take are starting a conversation about accessibility, listening to community feedback, and working towards your own accessibility strategy. Not everything needs to be accomplished on day one. Creating accessible experiences for all takes time. However, GAAD is one of many catalysts and starting points for a greater accessibility movement. By understanding the day’s intentions and thinking about how to apply your knowledge, you’re already starting your accessibility journey.
TPGi’s GAAD Webinar Schedule
As part of the GAAD 2023 celebration, TPGi is offering a series of informative webinars covering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEI+A), how businesses can create accessible and usable experiences for all customers, and more. The webinars are designed to foster discussion and bring attention to accessibility for all.
You can view our full schedule and register below:
Why is Web Accessibility Important?
May 16, 2023, at 12 PM ET
Presenter: Amy Albin, Vispero’s Learning and Development Coordinator
Description: Accessibility ends with “y”. But it also needs to begin with “why”. Just as important as having the right accessibility techniques is knowing why accessibility is important.
Register for the May 16 webinar
Business of Accessibility – Expert Panel
May 17, 2023, at 11:30 AM ET
Host: TPGi’s Mark Miller, Director of Sales
Expert Panel: Fidelity’s Dena Wainwright, Vice President/Digital Accessibility Practice Owner, Personal Investing, Google’s Christopher Patnoe, Head of Accessibility and Disability Inclusion for EMEA, Navy Federal Credit Union’s Jaunita George, DA Digital Program Manager, Navy Federal Credit Union’s Michelle Lana, Visual Designer IV, and Amazon’s Carlos Cordero, Accessibility Industry Specialist, People Accessibility and Disability Experience(ADEx)
Description: TPGi is bringing together an expert panel of top accessibility experts to discuss how businesses benefit from creating accessible experiences, the return on accessibility efforts, the current state of accessibility and much more!
Register for the May 17 webinar
Supporting a Technical and Cultural Shift to Accessibility, Whatever Your Resources
May 18, 2023, at 12 PM ET
Presenters: Mark Miller, Director of Sales, and Matthew Atkinson, Principal Accessibility Engineer
Description: Learn how you can start small and steady, and build up to making a profound shift towards embedding accessibility in your organization, both in terms of technical process and—most importantly—becoming part of the culture of your teams.
Register for the May 18 webinar
Creating Accessible Experiences
The conversation around accessibility awareness doesn’t need to end when GAAD does. Put action behind the words around inclusion. You can do your part and ensure your digital content is usable for everyone.
TPGi helps companies of all sizes start and refine their accessibility programs. You can work with accessibility experts to determine the best strategy and path forward to help you reach your goals.
Be proactive and work towards usability for all. Schedule a call with us today!