Hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the launch of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), the annual worldwide community event to raise awareness about digital accessibility.
I remember the first GAAD event and how I celebrated it locally in southeast Michigan.
At the time, I was working as a web developer on the web services team at Washtenaw Community College.
I published a blog post promoting the first GAAD and shared five suggestions on how people could experience first-hand the impact of digital accessibility.
Over the years, word of GAAD spread.
And people around the world planned in-person and virtual events to share awareness of digital accessibility.
For my part, I organized and hosted annual GAAD events in Detroit as a leader of Refresh Detroit, Detroit UX, and Michigan User Experience Professionals, where more than 500 people attended events over the years.
While I’m not organizing any GAAD event this year, I will be participating in several online GAAD events.
Read on to learn what GAAD is about and how you can join the celebration of GAAD’s 10th anniversary.
What is Global Accessibility Awareness Day?
After accessibility professional Jennison Asuncion read Devon’s blog post, he contacted him to discuss how they could make that happen.
The two worked toward having a day where people gather together to talk, think, and learn about digital accessibility.
In May 2012, the first GAAD was launched.
The idea spread through the web community over the years, as organizations, schools and universities, and individuals planned events and activities to raise awareness about digital accessibility.
People around the world attended GAAD online events and in-person events to learn about digital accessibility first-hand, and in many cases, participated in hands-on workshops and panel discussions.
In 2015, the third Thursday in May became the official day for GAAD.
With the COVID pandemic, GAAD moved to online events in 2020.
Join the 10th anniversary celebration of GAAD 2021! Here are three of my favorite events:
1. Siteimprove GAAD 2021
The Siteimprove GAAD 2021 virtual celebration is an all-day free event of keynotes and 45-minute presentations about digital accessibility.
Different sessions on accessible videos, document accessibility, case studies, common accessibility mistakes, and more start at the top of the hour.
Can’t make it to your favorite session? Register for the session and you’ll be sent the recording.
The morning keynotes kick off the event at May 20, 2021 at 9:00am Central Time (convert to your time zone).
2. COVID Accessibility Bug Bounty
Put your accessibility skills to use with Barrier Break’s COVID Accessibility Bug Bounty.
Help test COVID websites or mobile apps in your country and identify accessibility bugs.
Spend 30 minutes on a COVID website in your town, city, or region to identify accessibility issues. Conduct an accessibility test and submit a bug report.
3. Global Accessibility Awareness Day 10th Anniversary with A11yBay & Partner Meetups
Celebrate the 10th anniversary of GAAD at the largest virtual meetup on accessibility and inclusive design, hosted by the A11yBay meetup group.
The celebration kicks off May 20, 2021 at 4:30pm Pacific Time (convert to your time zone) with special guest appearance by GAAD co-founders Joe Devon and Jennison Asuncion.
Other confirmed speakers include Terri Rodriguez-Hong, Carie Fisher, and Marc B.D. Greenberg.
No pre-registration required. You’ll want to check the online event for the Zoom URL.
I invite you to join any of the Global Accessibility Awareness Day events I’ve included in this post.
Didn’t find one that interests you? Visit GAAD Events for more than 150 other GAAD events and activities.
Looking for other ways to learn about the importance of digital accessibility?
Experience digital accessibility firsthand. Unplug your mouse and use your keyboard to navigate websites for the day.
Share your experience with others by publishing a blog post.
Which GAAD events are you planning to attend?