In 2011, Joe Devon published a blog post titled “CHALLENGE: Accessibility know-how needs to go mainstream with developers. NOW.” This post served as a call to action for others in the web and digital space to learn more about accessibility, come together as a community, and change the world. Joe described his vision for a day when web developers worldwide could raise awareness and “know-how” to help others make sites accessible for everyone. Jennison Asuncion, an accessibility professional from Canada, found Joe’s post thanks to Twitter. Joe’s vision resonated with Jennison, and they merged their talents and networks to bring that day to life.
And thus, Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) was born!
GAAD is an annual event that takes place on the third Thursday in May and aims to raise awareness and promote the importance of digital accessibility. The goal of GAAD is to highlight the challenges faced by people with disabilities in accessing digital content and to encourage organizations and individuals to take action to make their digital content more accessible. This day is significant for people with disabilities, as accessibility can make a significant difference in how they connect with the world, access information, and participate in activities.
At its core, digital accessibility means creating digital content, websites, mobile apps, and other technologies that everyone can use, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. While the internet and digital technology have opened up new opportunities for people with disabilities, many websites and digital content remain inaccessible, creating barriers to employment, education, and social inclusion.
At the heart of GAAD is the belief that accessibility is not just a legal requirement but a moral imperative. The day encourages everyone to recognize the importance of accessibility and take steps to promote it. For example, website owners and developers can ensure their sites are accessible by incorporating features such as alt text for images, keyboard accessibility, and video captions. Mobile app developers can design apps that are easy to navigate and use with assistive technologies such as screen readers.
To learn more about the day and ways to participate, visit https://accessibility.day/.