Accessibility is as important in the digital world as it is in the physical world. As designers, developers and digital creators we all have a responsibility to ensure our products, services and experiences don’t exclude anyone.
Considering accessibility is crucial and should have a non-negotiable place in the design process. Unfortunately, it’s often the first thing to get cut when time and resources get scarce. In some cases, companies and individuals don’t know where to start, and it gets forgotten altogether.
Today is global accessibility awareness day, and an excellent opportunity to start thinking and learning about accessibility, no matter where you are on your journey.
What is GAAD?
Global Accessibility Awareness Day was launched in 2012 and is celebrated on the third Thursday of May each year. It’s an awareness day encouraging developers, designers and other creators to put a greater focus on digital accessibility ability and inclusion for the billion people across the world who have disabilities and impairments.
History of GAAD
The day was inspired by a blog post written in November 2011 by a web developer, Joe Devon. Joe posted, ‘Accessibility know-how needs to go mainstream with developers. NOW’. He called upon the global web development community to bridge the accessibility gap by raising awareness on making sites accessible. Since 2012, the movement has continued to grow with international and local organisations hosting events to engage the public and spotlight accessibility solutions.
Why digital accessibility is important
Over one billion people around the world live with a disability, and that number is growing. If digital content isn’t made accessible, we risk creating barriers and excluding huge numbers of people from participating in the online world.
Digital accessibility ensures everyone, including people with disabilities, can access and use digital content. As we become more reliant on the web to do day-to-day activities, creating an online environment everyone can access has never been more important.
The global market for people with disability currently sits at 1 billion people, with a spending power of $6 trillion. The more digitally accessible your products, services and experience, the wider the audience it will be able to reach.
Get involved this GAAD Day
GAAD is open to everyone and there are hundreds of events held globally with millions attending. If you’d like to join an existing event, check out the list on the official GAAD website.
Learn more about digital accessibility
To learn more about digital accessibility, there are numerous courses to choose from which cater for all levels.
New to accessibility:
- W3C Introduction to Web Accessibility
- Designing Accessible Learning Content Programme – Free taster module
- Udacity, Web Accessibility for Front-End Web Developers
- Centre for Inclusive Design Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility
To learn more about digital accessibility or to chat with one of our specialists about how you can make your digital content more inclusive, contact firstname.lastname@example.org