Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) May 15th!
On May 15, we invite you to participate in Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of the day is to get people talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) accessibility and users with different disabilities.
The idea of a Global Accessibility Awareness Day started with a single blog post written by a Los Angeles-based web developer, Joe Devon. Jennison Asuncion, an accessibility professional from Toronto discovered Joe’s blog post purely by accident thanks to Twitter. After reading it, he immediately contacted Joe and they joined forces, leveraging their extensive and respective networks to realize the event.
Whether you participate in a public or private event to mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day, on May 15, we encourage designers, developers, usability professionals, and everyone else to take an hour to experience first-hand the impact of digital accessibility (or lack there of).
Go Mouseless For An Hour
Go ahead and unplug your mouse and only use your keyboard alone (tab/shift tab, arrow keys, enter and spacebar) to navigate and interact with your favorite websites and applications. If you use a touchpad, trackpad or similar input method, disable it, and use the keyboard instead. Developers and designers, we encourage you to visit a site you were involved in creating and take it for a test-drive.
Surf The Web With A Screen Reader For An Hour
There are a number of free/open source screen readers available for Windows users. One of the more popular ones is NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA). Take a bit of time beforehand to download the software and learn some of NVDA’s documented basic keystrokes. Mac users, you have a built-in screen reader called VoiceOver on your systems. Take some time to visit the site referenced to familiarize yourself with how to turn on VoiceOver and some of the basic keystrokes.
On May 15, unplug your mouse (blind users do not use the mouse), launch your screen reader, and spend an hour using some of your favorite sites strictly using the keyboard alone (tab/shift tab, arrow keys, enter and spacebar) and not the mouse/trackpad. Why not turn off your screen and depend strictly on the information conveyed by the screen reader. Developers and designers, we encourage you to visit a site you were involved in creating and take it for a test-drive.
Learn About And Use Other OS/Mobile Accessibility Features
The Windows 7 Operating System has a number of built-in accessibility features, as does the Mac Operating System. iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry devices also have accessibility features. Take an hour to explore what these are and try them out on the Web. In the case of the mobile devices, why not try using some of your favorite apps with different accessibility features enabled.
Try Other Adaptive Software Tools
The Adaptech Research Network has a library of free or inexpensive software that is useful to people with disabilities. Why not try one or more of these software.
Contribute Directly To The Digital Accessibility Effort
Karen Mardahl in Denmark has suggested the following additional ideas for designers, developers, and others to take on as part of the day. These will help directly to improving the accessibility of the web and to spreading awareness.
Tell Us How You Are Marking GAAD
Tell the world what you are doing to mark GAAD. Post to our Facebook page. If you are tweeting, use the #gaad hashtag.
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