Imagine living in today’s technology driven society, but without access to the technological tools that shape our daily lives. Not easy, right? Many routine, daily tasks would become needlessly difficult, and complex digital tasks would be near-impossible. For many people, this is reality, and it’s a reality that Global Accessibility Awareness Day aims to change for the better.
What Is GAAD?
Some people are unaware that digital accessibility issues exist at all, while others are aware of the challenges but don’t know where to find help in addressing them. The primary goal of GAAD is to raise global awareness of digital accessibility challenges and solutions, and provide real direction to those who seek it.
What Are Digital Accessibility Challenges?
Digital accessibility challenges come in many forms, all of which make “standard” digital content difficult or impossible to consume. Learning disabilities, visual impairments, , second-language learning challenges, and even simply time constraints all make the list. For users with these challenges, the standard “text-on-page” format simply doesn’t suffice.
Why Is GAAD Important?
Accessibility is not a niche problem, but an important, global issue. The goal of GAAD is to increase awareness on all levels. Even the weekend blogger or for-fun site editor can improve accessibility by doing simple things like choosing contrasting colors for example. Professional software and web developers can learn not just about the challenges users face, but the real solutions and accessible technologies that already exist.
How Are Accessibility Challenges Being Addressed?
As mentioned above, simple fixes are a great place to start, and an example of how awareness can lead to action. Of course, those simple fixes aren’t enough to help all users. That’s where accessible technologies enter the picture. Tools like text to speech open your content to a world of new users, turning any text-based page into an audible experience. Other types of media can also bring content to life, and accessibility is all about providing options.
What Can I Do For GAAD?
One of the great things about GAAD is that anyone can pitch in to help the cause. It’s a chance to bring the accessibility discussion to the larger public, and simply spreading the word on its existence is a great first step. As more people understand the scope and importance of digital accessibility, solutions will continue to emerge, and the web will ultimately become a more inclusive place.