Let’s talk about Global Accessibility Awareness Day
In 2020, WebAIM analysed one million home pages for accessibility. They found 98.1% of home pages with at least one WCAG 2.0 failure.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) helps us to highlight these failures. It’s an opportunity to make people aware about the barriers disabled people experience.
Every year on the third Thursday of May, GAAD encourages us to talk, think and learn about digital accessibility.
To celebrate this day, we’ve collected together different perspectives from Scope staff. We asked them to share their thoughts on what this year’s GAAD means to them.
Elisabeth Ward, Lead Accessibility Specialist
“GAAD helps raise awareness about the barriers that disabled people experience. It’s an incredibly important day for the disability community. It’s a day for disabled people to talk about the challenges they experience in their lives. To share with non-disabled people about how they can help remove these barriers. How they can be more accessible.
It’s also a way of telling the world that they are responsible for making sure their society is accessible.
GAAD helps us to share knowledge and guidance on how people and organisations can be more accessible. We’re not just saying ‘here are all the barriers we as disabled people experience. Fix it please.’ We’re talking and sharing too. About the things that help us. About the small changes that can make big differences. Or the big changes that can change our world. Our culture.
It’s an opportunity to start a conversation. A conversation that can change both our social and working culture for the better. To be more inclusive.
It’s also an important opportunity for accessibility professionals to share their knowledge. To share what they’re doing and changing through their work. They help others learn what was successful and what was challenging. People completely new to accessibility can learn about it from others with experience.
The day is full of events, talks, guides, articles, social posts, videos and more. And every year it seems to get bigger. More people join the conversation. More people are accessibility aware and accessibility conscious. As an accessibility specialist and a disabled person, it’s a big day for me.”
Paul Fuller, Executive Director of Partnerships
“Global accessibility awareness day means that the world is acknowledging that access and inclusion for everyone is important.
It tells the 1 billion disabled people that society cares enough to make digital content, navigation, and information accessible to everyone.
The more people who are educated on digital accessibility, the more inclusive the world becomes.”
Chloe Tear, Content Designer
“Since losing my eyesight, technology has enabled me to carry on doing the things I enjoy. The only barrier is inaccessibility. We should make things accessible every day, not just on Global Accessibility Awareness Day. It benefits everyone and access shouldn’t be an afterthought.”
Graham Findlay, Co-Production Lead
“For me, Global Accessibility is all about aiming for the end of the accessibility rainbow, namely Inclusive Design.
Inclusive Design means that any service or product can be used easily by anybody, whether they are disabled or not.
If we want true global diversity, we need to make sure that our products are accessible and easy to use for all our customers and audiences.”
Harriet Cavanagh, Insight Executive
”GAAD is a reminder to celebrate good accessibility! It has a huge impact on disabled people. It allows us to contribute and have equal access.
This event is a chance to help other people learn about why digital inclusion is essential and commit to making it part of their work. Digital accessibility means that tools and technology make my life easier, not harder.”
Ryan Kennedy, Digital Inclusion Specialist
“It’s a time for us all to learn and listen to disabled people. It’s a time for us to understand and change our ways to ensure everyone has the same levels of access.
This day gives me an opportunity to raise awareness, teach others new ways of working and ensure disabled people are no longer an afterthought when considering accessibility.
My personal view is this shouldn’t be a single “Global Accessibility Awareness Day”. This should be standard practice. We all have a role in making it accessible and ensuring disabled people have everyday equality.”
Fola Tayo, Interim Inclusion Business Partner
“GAAD gives me hope. It puts a spotlight on accessibility, even if it’s just for the day.
It makes me optimistic that people will take the opportunity to listen and learn about accessibility.
And I do hope they will take the next step and make their websites accessible. This means that at some point, I’ll be able to click on any website without worrying about whether it is going to be accessible to me.”
Alex White, Senior Editor
“Every day should be Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Accessibility is not an annual event or a tick in a box.
It is not about creating “an accessible version”. Include everyone from the start.
Plan, design and create with software that everyone can use.”