Digital accessibility is a matter of fairness, equality, and human rights. It's about ensuring that nobody is left behind and that everyone can access the wealth of information and opportunities in the digital world. And today, Global Accessibility Awareness Day (or GAAD), is the perfect time to remember that we can make a difference.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day originated from a blog post suggesting a day of the year be devoted to raising awareness on making websites accessible and inviting developers to test one page on their site, fix it, blog about it and inspire others to do the same.
Twelve years on, GAAD is going from strength to strength. It's encouraging people to talk, think and increase their knowledge about digital accessibility, and not just about websites but also digital documents, which are just as important.
By embracing digital accessibility, we empower individuals with disabilities or neurodivergent to participate fully in society, opening doors to education, employment, social engagement, and so much more.
"As a community, we can work together to change the world." Joe Devon, Co-Founder GAAD
So, let's celebrate GAAD by spreading awareness, learning more about accessibility, and taking action, no matter how small the act is.
Small changes, big impact
By providing descriptive alternative (alt) text for images, people with visual impairments can understand what's in the image, as a screen reader will announce it.
Using colour combinations with good contrast makes our documents easier to read and interpret by people with vision impairments, such as colour blindness, which occurs in 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women, and colour sensitivity, which can increase from your mid-40s.
Organising documents with clear headings and formatting makes reading, navigating, and finding information easier. For example, students who are neurodiverse can read an online document with text-to-speech technology, enabling them to absorb the knowledge better and succeed academically.
And correctly structuring a digital form means a person with a mobility impairment can independently navigate and complete it without using a mouse, quickly and easily and without the assistance of others.
These few small but mighty steps help create an inclusive environment where information is accessible to everyone. By embracing accessibility, we open doors to education, employment, entertainment, and social connection for people with disabilities or who are neurodivergent. It's about breaking down barriers and fostering a more inclusive society.
Accessibility benefits everyone, but it's a must for those who need it.
Whether we're marketers, content creators, educators, or simply avid users of digital content, we all play a role in making information inclusive. When we design with accessibility in mind, we create a better user experience for everyone, enhancing usability and engagement. And while accessibility does benefit everyone, the most profound benefit is for people with a disability or who are neurodivergent, those who need it the most.
Together, we can create a digital landscape where everyone has an equal opportunity to access information, learn, and engage. So let's make accessibility a standard, not an afterthought, and build a more inclusive future.
My GAAD review & fix
In the lead-up to GAAD, I struggled with the alt text in my newsletter, Accessorised, not being announced by screen readers. I had spoken to vendors to no avail and had been working and testing with a screen reader legend (a million thank yous, buddy!) for a while, but I hadn't had much luck fixing the issue.
Then I tried Mailchimp's new beta builder with fabulous results. Not only does the new builder make it easier to create emails, but all of the alt text is voiced, so all of my audience now gets the same message.
Accessibility - a fundamental right
Today reminds us of our responsibility to make information accessible to all. Accessibility is not a luxury; it's a fundamental right. We can all contribute to a more inclusive and accessible digital future. So, let's celebrate GAAD by raising awareness, educating ourselves about digital accessibility, and taking action.
What change will you make today?
PS. Pass this on to someone who could do with a gentle nudge on digital accessibility. When you know better, you do better, and everyone deserves a chance to do better 😉
If you're struggling with PDF remediation, accessible design, or just needing support, get in touch today with KC & the Graphics Bandwagon, help is only a call or a click away.