On the third Thursday of every May, people around the world celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day. The day was founded by theGlobal Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) Foundation, an organization that works to promote digital accessibility, access and inclusion globally.
GAAD defines digital accessibility as the need for good quality digital experiences online for all internet users, regardless of an individual’s disabilities. “Someone with a disability must be able to experience web-based services, content, and other digital products with the same successful outcome as those without disabilities,” said GAAD.
Approximately one billion people worldwide have disabilities, but one million home pages were tested under Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and about 100 percent of the homepages had at least one failure. Although much progress has been made since GAAD’s conception, there is still much to be done about the tech ecosystem in terms of developing better methods to serve largely ignored and underserved disabled internet users (Source: GAAD).
GAAD was founded in 2011 by Joe Devon, an entrepreneur and founder of the inclusive digital agency Diamond, and Jennison Asuncion, a digital accessibility professional. GLAAD’s story originates with the posting of a single blog by co-founder Devon in 2011. The blog described the many ways that web development and the tech industries are underdeveloped in terms of accessible design. The article, titled “Challenge: Accessibility know-how needs to go mainstream with developers. NOW,” was inspired when Devon witnessed his father struggle with complex banking sites due to impaired vision and hearing. This pushed Devon to challenge people to think deeper and more meaningfully about what a more accessible internet would look like.
Since the creation of GAAD eleven years ago, there have been remarkable shifts and changes within the tech ecosystem. Global Accessibility Awareness Day celebrations have gone from modest 16 in-person events worldwide in 2012 to more than 200 annual events each year with supporters like Stevie Wonder and Apple CEO Tim Cook.
The main obstacle to increasing global internet accessibility is education, since many studying in coding boot camps and universities may not learn about the intricacies of internet accessibility. Therefore, it is important to weave accessibility issues into the fabric of lesson plans and other programming courses (Source: GAAD).
With all the progress in mind, we should aim to push for more internet accessibility so that everyone, no matter their abilities, can freely access information online. For more information, visit GAAD’s website.
Challenge: Accessibility know-how needs to go mainstream with developers. now. MySQLTalk.com. (2011, November 27). Retrieved June 19, 2022, from https://mysqltalk.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/challenge-accessibility-know-how-needs-to-go-mainstream-with-developers-now
Gaad. GAAD. (2022, February 23). Retrieved June 19, 2022, fromhttps://accessibility.day//
What is Global Accessibility Awareness Day? Accessibility.com: Accessibility Starts Here. Retrieved June 19, 2022, fromhttps://www.accessibility.com/blog/what-is-global-accessibility-awareness-day
2021 State of Accessibility Report. Diamond. (2021, December 3). Retrieved June 19, 2022, from https://diamond.la/soar/