This was Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2018

What is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)?

The Global Accessibility Awareness Day started with a blog post by Joe Devon demanding that “Accessibility needs to go mainstream now”. This kicked off a conversation with Jennison Asuncion and after a few talks, the GAAD was born. GAAD started in 2012 with the purpose to get everyone to think about accessibility, to share their best practices and to learn about digital access and people with different disabilities.

 

Our highlights from GAAD 2018

In this blog post, we want to summarise our highlights from GAAD 2018, which took place on the 17th of May.

 

ATOS UK Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Atos UK had an amazing event lined up for GAAD, with a mix of keynotes and networking opportunities to discuss accessibility in all aspects of society. The keynote speakers included: Neil Miliken (ATOS), Dan Brooke (Channel 4), Saqib Shaikh (Microsoft), Caroline Casey, our very own CEO, Gavin Neate, and many more. The networking breaks provided an opportunity for all these bright heads in accessibility and inclusion to discuss ideas and initiatives on how to make accessibility a default in society and business. The event was live streamed for everyone who couldn’t make it.

 Our CEO, Gavin Neate, presenting our inclusive customer service solution, Welcome, at ATOS UK GAAD

Our CEO, Gavin Neate, presenting our inclusive customer service solution, Welcome, at ATOS UK GAAD

 

BBC Accessibility Awareness Day

Similar to the event at ATOS, BBC organised an event for Accessibility Awareness Day under the motto “Access All Areas”. The packed agenda covered anything from workplace diversity and TV production to inclusive design and new technology and boasted keynote speakers like Nancy Doyle (BBC’s Employable me), Hector Minto (Microsoft), Lauren West (Muscular Dystrophy UK) or Esmail Patel (D.E.A.F).

If you couldn’t make the event, you can catch up on all the highlights on their live stream.

 BBC Accessibility Awareness Day "Access All Areas" event banner

 

Reimagining Accessibility Trailer by Microsoft

At the beginning of this month, Microsoft published a short video that shows how important it is to include accessibility in every aspect of the business.

Since there are currently over 1 billion people with disabilities on the planet, it’s very important to ensure that your organisation’s environment is accessible by design and compliant with global accessibility standards. Experiences and products that are accessible by design benefit people of all abilities.

One quote from the video particularly resonated with us: “It’s like saying to every fifth person: I don’t really want your business. I’m not sure if anybody would want to turn away business like that.”

The video was a teaser for the launch of a knowledge platform on which you can discover practical ways to build a more inclusive environment and how accessible technologies such as Microsoft 365 enable everyone to create, communicate and collaborate. Click here if you want to see the short 30-minute movie and find out more about Microsoft’s initiatives to advance inclusion.

 

Screen Reader Webinar by Steve Sawczyn

In his webinar, Steve Sawczyn of Solutions Architect at Deque Systems, showed how he uses a screen reader to navigate the web. We are a big fan of webinars like this as it will help developers, business users, designers or anyone new to digital accessibility gain much better understanding of how people with visual impairments navigate the web. The awareness of how screen readers navigate the content on the page or common design barriers is essential to creating an inclusive experience.

Click here to watch a recording of this webinar.  

 

Tweetchat with Debrah Ruh

Debrah Ruh was invited to host a tweetchat by NASSCOM Foundation to raise awareness for accessibility and inclusion. The chat featured a lot of great questions which got phenomenal answers by Debrah and other twitter users. Here are some of our favourite answers from Debrah:

What do you mean by an inclusive organization and how do you create one?

 An inclusive organization means we can all participate in employment, transportation, housing and every other aspect of society. Assuring access for all is critical to the future in all countries. Especially India, with over a billion people.

An inclusive organization means we can all participate in employment, transportation, housing and every other aspect of society. Assuring access for all is critical to the future in all countries. Especially India, with over a billion people.

If any organization wants to start their accessibility practices today, where should they start from? What needs to be their first step in ensuring accessibility?

 First, we must assess where you are with accessibility. Create a plan, audit your website, internal and external systems. Remember to assess all human and technological touch points. Create a strategic plan with milestones and measurements.

First, we must assess where you are with accessibility. Create a plan, audit your website, internal and external systems. Remember to assess all human and technological touch points. Create a strategic plan with milestones and measurements.

Are there some good, cost effective assistive technologic solutions that could be transformative towards my organization becoming inclusive for all PwDs?

 There are a lot of good assistive technologies at all price points to assure persons with disabilities are accommodated. We have global studies that prove these accomodations aren’t expensive and pay for themselves with productivity gains.

There are a lot of good assistive technologies at all price points to assure persons with disabilities are accommodated. We have global studies that prove these accomodations aren’t expensive and pay for themselves with productivity gains.

Check out the hashtag #GAADTweetChat to read more of the answers.

 

A day to inspire ongoing commitment

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2018 came and went but the bigger mission remains: Accessibility needs to be in the front of our minds, regardless if it’s about creating a new product, planning any sort of infrastructure or designing the workplace. There will be a time in our lives when we will all have specific accessibility needs and will benefit massively from the technological advances we are fighting for today. We believe that the main takeaway from GAAD 2018 is the fact that accessibility is not a discussion limited to one day only but a subject that needs to be pushed on the agenda every single day.