It’s time to GAAD it up!

Don’t worry! You didn’t miss the boat on a new cool phrase of the month.

Thursday, May 21, 2020, marks the ninth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about digital access/inclusion and people with different abilities.

GAAD was founded by two developers Joe Devon and Jennison Asuncion. To learn more about GAAD, head on over to the GAAD website at the link below.

Webster defines Accessibility as,

easily used or accessed by people with disabilities, adapted for use by people with disabilities

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) defines Web Accessibility as follows:

Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. More specifically, people can: perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, contribute to the Web

Web Accessibility has gained a lot of traction recently for a number of reasons but I attribute it to the following three big ones:

1. Everything today is online. From how you buy your groceries to how you get to the airport, everything today is digital. You cannot escape it. This means everyone has to be able to use the technology – people of all ages, people of all abilities.

2. Increase in accessibility lawsuits. There has been a significant increase in the number of accessibility-related lawsuits in many industries. It is unfortunate but most companies are starting to pay attention to accessibility requirements as a result of legal and compliance requirements.

3. Accessibility Advocacy and Awareness. Accessibility has gained momentum over the last few years as many influential people (Satya Nadella, Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Michele Obama, Judith Heumann, Haben Girma to name a few) have been advocating for inclusive design, equal opportunity, disability rights, and legislation. There are also many Accessibility warriors at the grassroots level who are passionate about creating inclusive experiences, who are doing their part in building awareness.

With this post, I would like to contribute to Global Accessibility Awareness. Here is what we will be doing together:

  1. Learn a few Accessibility basics.
  2. Increase your knowledge and awareness.
  3. Take the A11Y challenge then tag at least 5 people in your network to take the A11Y challenge.

Let’s get started. Follow this path –

DISCLAIMER: I am not an Accessibility expert. This is not an all-inclusive list. Completing this checklist will not make you an accessibility expert.

WARNING: Completing this challenge may induce an intense sense of curiosity to learn more. Completing this challenge will give you a sense of accomplishment that will lead you to show off on social media.

The A11Y Challenge:

  1. Watch the TED Talk Stella Young: I am not your inspiration, thank you very much. 9 mins 4 secs.
  2. Watch Disability Sensitivity Training Video 3 mins 40 secs.
  3. Watch Intro to Web Accessibility and Standards 4 mins 7 secs.
  4. Watch We All Win Superbowl Ad for Microsoft Xbox Controller 1 min 56 secs
  5. Follow these amazing Disability advocates. less than 5 mins

Judith Heuman, Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Haben Girma, Sheri Bryn-Haber, Debra Ruh

For extra credit:

  1. Learn how to use voiceover on your iPhone or talkback on Android.
  2. Do an Accessibility Audit in just a few mins. Download the Microsoft Accessibility Insights Plugin for chrome. Load your favorite website, click on the plugin icon in your browser, and run the Fastpass check on the plugin to see how accessible the site is.
  3. Watch Crip Camp on Netflix.
  4. Read Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist and Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law
  5. Subscribe to updates from The Accidental Ally. 🙂

For extra, extra credit:

  • Create your own A11Y challenge and share it with your network.

I hope this has brought you a step closer to understanding and appreciating the importance of accessibility and inclusive design. Please do your part by spreading the word.

Here is short video of my kids Riya and Rohan taking the Accessibility Challenge and encourage everyone to spread the word for Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) on May 21, 2020.

“Let’s stop ‘tolerating’ or ‘accepting’ difference, as if we’re so much better for not being different in the first place. Instead, let’s celebrate difference, because in this world it takes a lot of guts to be different.”― Kate Bornstein