Skip to main content
Go to homepage
Global accessibility awareness day #GlobalAccessibilityAwarenessDay #GAAD
Advice

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2023

Did you know that Thursday, 18 May is Global Accessibility Awareness Day?

Danielle MeeCampaign manager
less than a minute17 May 2023

What is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)?

Global Accessibility Awareness Day, or GAAD for short, is an annual event to improve digital accessibility for disabled digital users. The annual day encourages everyone to talk, think and learn about digital inclusion and how to include the one billion people globally with disabilities and impairments.

The idea was first conceptualised in November 2011 by GAAD co-founder, web-developer Joe Devon with a single blog post. The encouragement from accessibility professional, Jennison Asuncion, helped make GAAD a reality, and the rest is history.

In 2021, 10 years after GAAD began, the GAAD foundation was launched to support digital accessibility and encourage digital inclusion in technology and digital product development.

When is GAAD?

GAAD is an annual digital event that takes place on the 3rd Thursday of each May. This year GAAD falls on Thursday, 18 May.

Why is it important?

It’s important to provide an accessible online space for everyone. By promoting GAAD, we’re asking our community and beyond to join the conversation and show their commitment to making their websites, social presence and other digital touchpoints inclusive to all.

Did you know...

  • One billion people worldwide have a disability. [1]
  • A single website homepage has, on average, 50.0 accessible errors.[2]
  • The top three most common accessibility failures online are low-contrast text, missing image alt text and empty links. [1]
  • 20.1% of home pages had more than one <h1>, and one in every 22 headings was improperly structured.[2]

The WebAIM Million report is an annual study that evaluates the accessibility of the top one million websites.

The report is conducted by WebAIM, a non-profit organisation that works to improve the accessibility of the web for people with disabilities.

Why do accessible digital platforms make all the difference?

Take education as an example. Inaccessible digital platforms pose significant challenges for visually impaired students, impeding their access to online educational materials.

For example, when textbooks or course materials are presented in formats like scanned PDFs or images without proper accessibility features, students with visual impairments cannot access and engage with the content effectively.

As a result, their ability to fully participate in online learning opportunities is compromised, hindering their educational advancement and creating a disadvantageous situation for their academic success.

How are Contensis and Zengenti making a difference?

We like to practice what we preach, so let’s start with what Zengenti and Contensis do to provide inclusive digital experiences.

Accessibility isn’t something new to us at Zengenti. We have worked on it for years and will continue to work on it as technology changes and websites and apps evolve.

The beginning of our commitment to accessibility was making Contensis an accessible content management system (CMS). This went beyond ensuring the front-end websites were accessible to end users with alt-text, correct heading structures and accessible page design.

It ensured that the back-end management of content and code was accessible, too, with compliant contrast ratios, keyboard navigation and focus state and compatibility with screen reading software. So that anyone, regardless of ability, could work on websites, apps and intranets in Contensis without an issue.

Working with the Digital Accessibility Centre (DAC) took our commitment to accessibility one step further, auditing Contensis and ensuring we were fully WCAG compliant.

With some surprising findings in the audit, which you can catch up on in the webinar, we also ensured our team and community were educated about what we had overlooked.

Accessible resources for our team and community

Since working with the DAC, we have provided webinars and blogs as useful resources for our community and team.

With accessibility basics covering an introduction to WCAG 2.1, an introduction to ARIA and how to test for accessibility, anyone can get started on their digital accessibility journey.

We have also covered more in-depth topics in our webinars on how to make your site more accessible, an outline of how we have made Contensis more accessible and a demonstration of accessibility in practice with the card component.

Further accessibility resources are planned for our upcoming community event, and new and improved accessibility features are always covered in our quarterly release webinars.

Internally we also have team discussions and training sessions to improve our awareness of accessibility continually.

Small changes can have the biggest impact, such as educating team members to replace “click here” links with anchor text in internal and external communication. Or mindfully including alt text on social media posts has meant our team can make a big difference with a few small tweaks to their everyday work.

How can you participate?

Global Accessibility Awareness Day has put together resources for participation to encourage designers, developers and anyone else to audit their websites and see how accessible they are to web visitors.

GAAD has also compiled resources to raise awareness on the day, whether by spreading the word internally at your organisation or sharing on social media.

You can participate with GAAD using the hashtags #GlobalAccessibilityAwarenessDay and #GAAD to join the conversation on social media.

If you’re new to accessibility, we have found these resources useful to start your learning journey.

Microsoft inclusive design is a great place to get started. They perfectly describe how disability is context-dependent and happens due to mismatched human interactions.

AbilityNet offers free, expert web resources like fact sheets, webinars and sessions about disability and technology.

Finally, run your website’s homepage through the WebAIM site, look up and see how accessible your homepage ranks. Were you surprised by the results?

Summary

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is your reminder to review your digital footprint and make changes to be more inclusive.

There are plenty of resources out there (and mentioned above) to check for any accessibility issues with your website and apps.

Being inclusive with your online presence gives everyone the same fair and equal opportunities, whether buying clothes or accessing educational materials online.


Source [1]: https://accessibility.day/

Source [2]: https://webaim.org/projects/million/

Danielle MeeCampaign manager

Danielle is a campaign manager working within the marketing team. Her background is in global B2B marketing, with a focus on digital marketing campaigns.

Ready to get started?

Contensis supports modern development practices. And it works with your preferred tools – from VS Code to Git. Browse the documentation to get started.

Request a demo