Global Accessibility Awareness Day – Digital Design for Disability

Thursday 21 May 2020 marks the ninth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), an opportunity to reflect on digital design and disability.

The purpose of GAAD is to get people thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) access and inclusion for people with disability. The digital experience should be as easy as possible for every user, including those living with disability.

Initiated by a Los Angeles-based web developer, Joe Devon, and Toronto-based accessibility professional, Jennison Asuncion, the event was launched with the intention of raising awareness among the professional communities responsible for building and influencing technology.

Designers, developers, usability professionals and the general community are encouraged to take an hour on Thursday 21 May to experience first-hand the impact of digital accessibility (or lack of). This could include:

  • Going mouseless
  • Enlarging your fonts
  • Trying adaptive software tools
  • Surfing the web with a screen reader

Hot tip: Post an Instagram photo with Alt Text (This allows for visually impaired users to hear the description of the photo) – when posting photo, go into advanced settings and add a description into the alt text section. This supports users who rely on Alt Text to interpret and interact with the content.

While the internet offers the possibility of unprecedented access to information and connection for many people with disability, accessibility barriers can significantly limit the usability of certain technologies if a user can’t perceive, understand, navigate or interact with a product or platform. And while COVID-19 has created added challenges for many people with disability, it’s also opened up some wonderful new experiences, including access to live entertainment.

Our therapists may be able to work together with you and/or your family to explore how we can utilise digital accessibility or improve your digital accessibility (also known as assistive technology). Happy GAAD.

Areas that can be supported by assistive technology include:

  • Communication (though a Speech Therapist)
  • Mobility (through an Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist)
  • Leisure and hobbies (through an Occupational Therapist or Psychologist)
  • Education/work (through an Occupational Therapist)
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