Today, May 9, 2012, is the first annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). Conceived by Los Angeles web developer Joe Devon, GAAD’s mission is to raise awareness of digital accessibility and people with different disabilities.
Joe encourages every web designer, developer, user experience professional to spend one hour today to experience first-hand the impact of digital accessibility.
What Can You Do?
Virtual and in-person events are being held around the world today, many of the free events are highlighted on the Global Accessibility Awareness Day Facebook page.
Here are my five suggestions:
- Unplug the mouse on your computer for one hour.
Use the keyboard to navigate websites. You’ll be amazed at what you discover you can and can’t do on a website.
- Surf the web with a screenreader for an hour.
On the Mac, use the built-in Voice Over screenreader to experience a web page. On Windows, install the free NVDA screenreader
- Attend a free event to learn about technology for the blind and visually impaired.
Visions 2012 is a one-day free event held at the college where I work, Washtenaw Community College where vendors and organizations will be demonstrating and discussing products and services.
- Attend a free accessibility Q &A call.
Well-known accessibility expert Derek Featherstone is hosting a free phone call (1:30pm to 3pm EDT) for people with questions about web accessibility and how to make your site accessible to users with disabilities. The phone call is free, but you must register.
- Watch how a person with visual impairments uses a screenreader.
A few years ago, the Refresh Detroit group I lead hosted Cathy McAdam, Assistive Technology Coordinator at Michigan Disability Rights Coalition. Cathy graciously gave a screenreader demo of how she navigates the web.
For me, I’m doing all five suggestions. I would love to hear what steps you take today to learn about digital accessibility.
If you’re on Twitter, follow the day’s activities and news with the hashtag #gaad.