Global Accessibility Awareness Day is an important day that aims to raise awareness. And make online content and products accessible to over one billion people with disabilities. It is celebrated every year on the third Thursday of May. In 2018, along with a virtual event, there were also public events held in 19 countries across six continents.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) aims to promote awareness and engagement with digital products and content on websites. Through events held on this day, people learn about how individuals with disabilities utilize assistive technologies. Besides screen readers, text-to-speech software to access and navigate websites. The goal is to ensure equal rights and accessibility for all users.
Understanding the Global accessibility awareness day and its significance
Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) was launched in May 2012. In fact to highlight the importance of making online content accessible to all, especially people with disabilities. It’s crucial to understand that accessibility not only benefits individuals but also brings business advantages. Accessibility is a key aspect of website design and development, encompassing device independence, search engine optimization, multi-modal interaction, and usability. An accessible website means better search results, broader audience reach, and lower maintenance costs, fulfilling corporate social responsibility.
To ensure accessibility, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) created web content accessibility standards and guidelines. These guidelines establish global standards for making content, site pages, and websites accessible to all visitors. The most relevant versions for businesses are WCAG 2.0 and WCAG 2.1. WCAG 2.0, introduced in 2008, later became an ISO standard in 2012. Importantly, newer versions like WCAG 2.1 are backward compatible with WCAG 2.0.
Established in 2011, Global Accessibility Awareness Day aims to raise awareness and promote equal rights. This includes all website visitors, regardless of disabilities. It helps businesses stay legitimate and effective in a competitive marketplace. GAAD was founded through collaboration between Jennison and Devon. Local GAAD events provide insights into how people with disabilities use assistive technologies. Such as screen readers, text-to-speech software to access digital products, online content, and websites.
5 effective Ways by which businesses can celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day
Here are 5 effective ways through which businesses can make their website accessible to all users. Especially for people with disabilities to remain legit and effective in the industry. And also to avoid any legal issues and complications.
Use text alternatives
Ensure that visual content on your website or site pages has text alternatives. Text alternatives provide information about the visual content in a format that meets the user’s needs. Such as read-aloud recordings, enlarging text size, or providing Braille versions for text to be read on Braille devices.
Ensure that you provide captions and transcripts for all audio content available
Multimedia content on the web enhances the user experience, but it can exclude individuals with audio or visual impairments. By including captions, screen reader users can understand the meaning of videos on your website or site pages. Offering captions and text transcripts for audio content, such as radio interviews, or providing sign language interpretation. It helps overcome these limitations and ensures accessibility for all users.
It is important to offer content in different formats and allow users to customize its presentation. For instance, providing the option to have content read aloud, offering customizable color combinations. Also ensuring proper color contrast, and optimizing content for mobile devices. These are examples of accommodating different user preferences in content presentation.
Avoid flashing or auto-playing content
It’s important to ensure equal content perception and comprehension for all users. Since some may require more time to read or complete tasks on websites. Take precautions and adjust time-sensitive elements on the website to avoid interruptions, scrolling, or blinking. Animated content that flashes at a certain rate can be harmful to individuals with photosensitive disorders. Therefore, it’s crucial to either avoid such content altogether or provide a warning about its nature.
Navigation plays a crucial role in the user experience. Furthermore, creating a site with well-organized content allows users with disabilities to have equal access. It allows them to fully experience the website according to their needs. Some important considerations include ensuring users can interact with site structures such as search boxes, hierarchical menus, and site maps.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day serves as a reminder of the importance of recognizing and prioritizing accessibility in the digital realm. By promoting awareness, we can encourage businesses to make online content and products accessible to all, regardless of disabilities.
Embracing accessibility not only ensures equal rights and opportunities for everyone. Also contributes to a more inclusive and diverse online community. Let us strive to create a more accessible and inclusive digital landscape every day. Not just on Global Accessibility Awareness Day!