In this rapidly changing world with emerging technologies, our aim is to ensure that each and everyone has equal access to digital platforms. With Global Accessibility Awareness Day being celebrated tomorrow, here we are- progressing towards being more socially responsible.
We believe that there should be no barriers for differently-abled people when they access websites, social media platforms and mobile devices. If data by CDC is to be believed; 61 million people in the US have some form of disability. This makes up for 26 % of the US population. If we look further, 82 % of these differently-abled users access the internet for shopping, banking, learning and they might apply for jobs too.
Looking outside a particular demographic, here is what the World bank and WHO Global disability report reflects. 1.3 billion disabled users are there globally and this number is increasing every year. 1 out of every 5 people have a form of disability and this is almost equal to 15% of the world population.
So, the data is huge and the need for accessibility is imperative. If websites are not accessible, it will discourage them and eventually you may lose all your customers. The online world is recognizing the importance of Accessibility for all, To that effect, we have started celebrating the Global Accessibility Awareness Day annually. This year, it falls on 21st of May,2020. So, representing the Web Accessibility team at DCKAP, here is some more information for you regarding this day:
What is Global Accessibility Awareness Day?
The Global Accessibility Awareness Day is a day dedicated to celebrate, appreciate, and communicate the efforts put forth to build web accessibility on different digital platforms. It is also aimed at helping people who need support and guidance to implement web accessibility. GAAD is celebrated every year on the third Thursday in the month of May. This year marks the 9th year of celebration to create awareness about the importance of web accessibility. The main purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about digital inclusion and accessibility.
Where did the spark come from?
Back in 2011, Joe Devon a Los Angeles based web developer posted a blog titled “CHALLENGE: Accessibility know-how needs to go mainstream with developers. NOW ” .Here is when a movement kickstarted. Through this post, he pointed out the lack of availability of digital accessibility resources and awareness. Jennison Asuncion, a digital accessibility professional and co-founder of GAAD stated this day as: “that single day to think about, to learn about, and to experience digital accessibility.”
A week away from the 9th Global #Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) on May 21, read @joedevon’s blog post and @jennison’s reply that started it all. #gaad #a11y #TechForGood #DigitalDivide https://t.co/0K43AIPVx4
— GlobalA11yAwarenessDay (@gbla11yday) May 14, 2020
How can you engage?
Since it is an event that aims at inclusion, it’s beneficial for everybody to partake; irrespective of their direct or indirect association. So, if you are wondering what you can do? Then, here is our recommendation. You can attend events/webinars happening on May 21st, 2020. In the webinars you will get a chance to discuss with thought leaders in the realm of web accessibility and also, you can get a chance to share your experience on web accessibility in the event. Additionally, Arizona State University has slated an entire day of events. This entails a lot of sessions for faculties, designers and developers, so a host of information awaits you. Check out the full schedule here Through these interactive events, you’ll learn best practices for building accessible digital platforms, come to know about the latest research results in accessibility and have the opportunity to engage with others who are committed to web accessibility.
What can you do alongside attending the events?
Here is what we recommend you do to get hands-on experience in accessibility.
- Attend the events without using a mouse
- Increase the website font size
- Use the screen readers to navigate and interact with the website.
This way you will be able to personally experience how different users are accessing the digital platform.
Web accessibility in the near future
The effort towards building and implementing accessibility barrier-free websites already started by many website owners, designers and developers considering it as social responsibility and giving back to the community. We always need to remember that technology is a tool for all people. Global tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Apple are building their products keeping accessibility in mind. When it comes to us, it is not only an individual’s responsibility to take care of web accessibility. Everybody is responsible for web accessibility in an organization. For example, consider building LMS. The sales team should be aware of the product features that are accessible. The content team who are working on the video/audio files for the courses should know how to make the media files accessible. Designers and developers who work in the product should know about web accessibility. These are just some of the examples, but if it everybody makes is their onus; then it would definitely be a technically equal world. We believe that by joining hands for such initiatives, we can achieve a lot. For instance, by sharing our experience and knowledge on web accessibility implementation that caters differently-abled people and working towards web accessibility awareness, we would certainly contribute towards a barrier-free digital world.
Key pointers to help you better:
When you are running your online business, keep the following as your thumb rule for web accessibility.
- Ensure your website supports with assistive technologies such as screen reader
- Resize the website font size and check for any loss of content and functionalities
- Follow appropriate color contrast to help blind and users with low vision.
- Provide closed captions to your video files
- Periodic Website Assessment by Web accessibility professional
We are here to help you and guide you. Come and check out our accessibility service Here is the list of some GAAD events across the world.