Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2024

Global accessibility awareness day

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) reminds us of the progress made and the work still ahead in digital accessibility. While we’ve improved physical accessibility with things like wheelchair ramps and crosswalk signals, there’s more to do online.

GAAD urges us to consider questions like: How can we make digital experiences open to everyone? Can people with disabilities easily use our online content? Are our design practices inclusive of diverse needs?

Let’s explore GAAD’s meaning and history together. By understanding its purpose, we can better appreciate the significance of this day. Ready to learn more?

Understanding Global Accessibility Awareness Day

The GAAD Foundation is a nonprofit organization on a mission to make technology more accessible. They host an annual event called GAAD to talk about how we can make digital stuff better for people with disabilities.

Started in 2012, GAAD happens every third Thursday of May. Its main aim is to get developers, designers, and others in the digital world thinking about and adding features to websites, apps, and software that make them easier to use for everyone.

By spreading the word and showing why inclusive digital experiences matter, GAAD helps make sure that everyone can use online services, no matter what challenges they might face.

History of GAAD:

Let’s explore how a small idea led to something big. Back in 2011, Joe Devon, a web developer, shared a simple thought: everyone, including those with disabilities, should be able to use the internet easily.

This blog post sparked something much larger—it planted the seed for the first Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) in 2012. GAAD aimed to highlight the importance of making digital spaces accessible to everyone.

Joe Devon and Jennison Asuncion, both advocates for digital accessibility, led this initiative. Their goal was to spark conversations and raise awareness about digital access and inclusion.

Since its inception, GAAD has grown into an annual global event celebrated every third Thursday in May. People worldwide come together to organize events, workshops, and discussions, all focused on promoting inclusivity in the digital sphere.

What began as a simple blog post has evolved into a worldwide movement, demonstrating that even small beginnings can lead to significant change.

What Is Digital Accessibility?

Did you know that more than 1 billion people worldwide have some kind of disability? In 2024, WebAIM looked at over a million home pages to see how accessible they were. Here’s what they found:

  • They discovered a whopping 56,791,260 different accessibility errors, averaging about 56.8 errors per page.
  • This is quite a jump from the 2023 analysis, which found an average of 50 errors per page, showing a noticeable increase (13.6%).

Everyone needs to have easy access to online content. Digital accessibility ensures that people with disabilities can use websites and online services just like everyone else.

How Can You Support GAAD?

1. Engage in Learning Opportunities

Take part in educational workshops and webinars focused on digital accessibility. These sessions cover various topics like designing accessible websites, using assistive technologies, and promoting inclusive digital practices.

2. Organize a Discussion on Digital Inclusion

Arrange a gathering with peers or colleagues, either virtually or in person, to discuss the importance of making digital spaces more accessible. Share insights, strategies, and the significance of accessibility for all users. Consider it an informative gathering where everyone gains valuable knowledge.

3. Collaborate with Advocacy Groups

Work together with disability advocates and organizations to better understand the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities. Listen actively to their feedback and incorporate their perspectives into efforts to promote accessibility and inclusion.

4. Participate in Community Events

Join in community events or panel discussions dedicated to Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). These gatherings bring together diverse voices to highlight the importance of digital accessibility. By fostering understanding and promoting inclusive practices, these events contribute to creating a digitally accessible world for everyone, raising awareness, and fostering change at a grassroots level.

GAAD is Important All Year

Supporting Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) isn’t just a once-a-year thing—it’s something we should prioritize every day. We can do our part by using assistive technology tools, learning about different disabilities, adding alt text to our websites, making sure documents are accessible, using descriptive text for links, and making text bigger for easier reading. Understanding the importance of GAAD is key for a few reasons.

Digital accessibility is essential for making the world more inclusive. It means making sure everyone, not just people with disabilities, can use technology easily. The best ideas for improving accessibility often come from people in the disability community who deal with these challenges every day.

We need to recognize and empathize with the diverse struggles many people face when trying to access digital content. It’s about always learning and adapting in a world where technology keeps evolving.

Closing Thoughts

Continual Engine supports Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) by developing and promoting solutions to enhance accessibility and comply with standards like the WCAG. We help businesses ensure that every part of their websites, apps, and digital documents is accessible. Partnering with Continual Engine gives access to digital platforms where a commitment to accessibility can be put into action, getting us closer to a world where digital access is a basic human right.

Start with a demo today.

Editors:

Debangku Sarma

Digital Marketing Associate
Continual Engine

Vijayshree Vethantham

Senior Vice-President, Growth & Strategy
Continual Engine US LLC

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