On May 9, you are invited 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 target audience of GAAD is the design, development, usability, and related communities who build, shape, fund and influence technology and its use. Yep, that’s us.
Our recent articles touching on web accessibility have made it apparent there are plenty of SitePoint readers interested in the topic of making technology accessible and usable by persons with disabilities, but they’re not always clear on why, or how, or where to start.
Awareness comes first. Read the blog post by Joe Devon that inspired GAAD http://mysqltalk.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/challenge-accessibility-know-how-needs-to-go-mainstream-with-developers-now.
I figure most of our readers will be coming at this from one of two perspectives:
1) I’m experienced with web accessibility issues, and I want to help others devs and designers get on board.
If this is you, consider holding a free talk/gathering/Meetup, organizing hands-on demos, or planning other activities that bring attention to some aspect of digital accessibility. You can make it big or small, virtual or in-person, formal, or less so. You can arrange something at work/school, or open it up to your local community. Get your event listed on the GAAD website so that others can join in.
2) I’m keen to embrace web accessibility, but I’m not sure where to start.
On May 9, seek out a local public event or find a virtual GAAD activity and get involved. In addition to events, for an hour on that day, people are invited to experience digital accessibility by unplugging the mouse for an hour and using the keyboard alone, or turning on mobile devices’ accessibility features and surfing the web or using favorite mobile apps.
Ideas from last year’s GAAD and resources are on the event’s website. Full details are at http://www.globalaccessibilityawarenessday.org.
You can reach Joe Devon and Jennison Asuncion, co-founders of this global effort at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll try to point out some of the more interesting events here closer to May 9.
Ricky Onsman is a freelance web designer, developer, editor and writer. With a background in information and content services, he built his first website in 1994 for a disability information service and has been messing about on the Web ever since.
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