Global Accessibility Awareness Day
(Also known as GAAD)
Global Accessibility Awareness Day is observed next on Thursday, May 18th, 2023 (276 days from today).
Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) on the third Thursday of May is an awareness day focused on digital access and inclusion for more than one billion people with disabilities and disabilities.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day is all about getting people thinking and talking about making the web accessible to different people with disabilities.
Technology is a miracle. With a quick search we can find all the information we need about anything we want. We can order dinner, research an article, listen to a podcast. But if you're blind, deaf, or otherwise impaired, it's not uncommon to see technology as more of a burden than a benefit.
Keeping technology accessible to all is a major topic of the day, and in an age where technology is increasingly a part of our lives, it has never been more important.
History of Global Accessibility Awareness Day
This date was first observed in 2015, and the interesting thing happened due to a blog post written by a web developer named Joe Devon. The blog post, featured on mysqltalk.wordpress.com, and talks about how low accessibility is on the list of important things when creating a website - and how this needs to change.
After seeing the post, Jennison Asuncion reached out to Joe to talk about web accessibility. Together they teamed up to create this day and have since become big names in making the Internet more accessible to everyone.
The state of digital accessibility
When it comes to digital accessibility, we still have a lot of work to do. WebAim recently completed a study in which they analyzed a million homepages for accessibility issues and found that:
98.1% of homepages have at least one WCAG 2.0 error. In addition, homepages had an average of 60.9 errors. The most common mistakes include low-contrast text and lack of alt text on images. A similar study completed by AbilityNet in 2018 found that 70% of websites in the UK do not comply with accessibility standards.
This means that the Internet remains an unwelcome place for 15% of the world's population.
How is the Internet inaccessible?
Imagine you are shopping online and cannot find relevant product information or the 'Add to Cart' button because of poor color contrast on the website, or alt text is not added to describe an image or product… or watch a TED Talks video and have no idea what the presenter is saying because closed captions are not enabled… or try to use keyboard commands to navigate the web and find this web page other sites that don't allow keyboard-accessible navigation. This is just a fun experience of the Internet for people with disabilities.
How to celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day
1. Find out why we are all the same
Watch our mini-documentary to see firsthand why accessible experiences are better for everyone.
2. Fix your website!
Make sure everyone can access your website. Our WCAG 2.1 Must-Have Checklist provides guidance and testing techniques that you can use to improve the accessibility of web content, websites and desktop web applications, laptops, tablets and mobile devices
3. Discover more about our mission!
This 4-minute video addresses the damage caused by accessibility barriers and shows you how simple it is to put accessibility first. Use these automated testing tools for testing
Web assessment tools are a great way to get a basic idea of the state of your accessibility. From contrast to 508 compatibilities, find a helpful list of accessibility assessment tools.
5. Learn sign language
If the Covid-19 shelter is tasked with giving you some free time, why not use it to learn a new language?! Both Gallaudet University and Sign Language 101 offer free courses for everyone who would like start.
6. Make Virtual Meetings Accessible
Virtual meetings have become a more frequent part of life, both for work and for socializing. Make sure everyone can participate equally, get tips and tricks for creating virtual meetings.
7. See how accessibility impacts and improves the overall customer experience
Hear a live account from a travel operator who shares how she helped create a culture of customer experience excellence by applying accessibility best practices in every step of her child's life Street.
8. Attend an accessibility awareness event… (Almost of course)
Social distancing can't stop the fun - check out this list of virtual events that help raise awareness of accessibility.
9. Reading the blog post that started it all!
Global Accessibility Awareness Day was written by web developer Joe Devon in 2011. Devon goes on to become a founding partner of GAAD.
Use the power of social media to raise awareness! On Global Accessibility Awareness Day, be sure to share how you're working to make the world a more accessible place for all. Follow @eSSENTIa11y and @gbla11yday for great content! #GAAD # a11y
ObservedGlobal Accessibility Awareness Day has been observed the third Thursday in May.
Thursday, May 20th, 2021
Thursday, May 19th, 2022
Thursday, May 18th, 2023
Thursday, May 16th, 2024
Thursday, May 15th, 2025