What is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)?
Global Accessibility Awareness Day is an annual event on the third Thursday of May that raises awareness of digital accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities.
The goal of GAAD is to encourage everyone to think about accessibility when they are designing or developing anything new. This includes everything in the digital realm: website design, software development, mobile apps, gaming and more.
This year, GAAD is on May 19th, 2022. By raising awareness of digital accessibility issues, we can help make the web a more inclusive place for everyone.
The History of Global Accessibility Awareness Day
The origins of Global Accessibility Awareness Day begin with a blog post written by web developer Joe Devon in 2011. In his blog post, Devon emphasized the need for more awareness and discussion around the topic of digital accessibility. Soon after, Devon’s blog post caught the attention of accessibility professional Jennison Asuncion. The two later came together to bring the world’s first Global Accessibility Awareness Day to life.
Since its inception, participation in GAAD has increased steadily each year, with events held worldwide. As the global event continues to grow, its mission remains the same: to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital accessibility and inclusion.
Why is Digital Accessibility Important?
Digital accessibility is important because it ensures that everyone can access and use digital products and services, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. When we design products and services with accessibility in mind, it reduces barriers and creates opportunities for everyone.
Not having an accessible website is also illegal in many countries, as it discriminates against people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public accommodations, and this includes websites. When a website is not accessible, it denies people with disabilities the same opportunities to participate in the digital world as everyone else. Furthermore, as the global population ages, accessible design will become even more important, as we will all likely need to use assistive technologies at some point in our lives.
From shopping online, to staying connected with friends and family, digital accessibility is essential. In a world where more and more of our everyday tasks are moving online, it’s important that everyone has the same opportunity to participate in the digital world.
How to Get Involved in Global Accessibility Awareness Day
- Spread Awareness
- Firstly, you can spread the word about GAAD and digital accessibility. This is as simple as sharing articles, blog posts, or social media messages about the importance of digital accessibility. You can also donate to the GAAD organization to help support its mission of raising awareness of digital accessibility issues.
- Attend or Hold an Event on Digital Accessibility
- Attending an event is another great way to get involved! This year, we’re recommending Accessible Web’s webinar “How the ADA Affects Your Website”. If you’re interested in attending more Global Accessibility Awareness Day events, you can find more information and resources on the GAAD website.
- Use GAAD as an Opportunity to Learn More About How to Make Your Products & Services More Accessible
- There are many resources available online centered around accessible web design, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Educate yourself on digital accessibility, and consider ways to make your own website more accessible.
- Consider Taking the Leap & Investing in a New, Fully Custom ADA Compliant Website
- Although already a sound decision from a moral standpoint, small businesses can also financially benefit from this investment. The Disabled Access Tax Credit states that small business owners with accessibility expenses are eligible to receive a tax credit of up to $5,000. Ultimately, investing in an accessible website is a win-win situation for both you and your customers.
Accessible Website Examples
At Bytes.co, we’re proud to have four incredibly talented web accessibility specialists on our web development team. As WAS certified developers, each of them has successfully passed the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP)’s certification exam. As a result, ADA compliant website design is one of our specialties.
We even partner with another agency, Accessible Web, for WCAG audits and user experience testing to ensure that your website meets web accessibility standards. Check out some of our recent accessible website builds and explore our portfolio to learn more about each project.
Finally, whether you attend a GAAD event, or plan on celebrating the entirety of Global Accessibility Awareness month, remember that every little bit helps in making the digital world a more inclusive place for everyone. If you have questions about accessibility and web development, schedule a free website consultation with us.