AccessWorld Recognizes Global Accessibility Awareness DayDear AccessWorld readers,
This month, on May 21, AccessWorld will recognize the 9th Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). On the third Thursday in May each year, those of us in the accessibility and inclusion fields recognize the importance of accessibility for all people, regardless of disability. The purpose of GAAD is to inspire people around the world to begin talking, thinking, and learning about Internet, software, mobile, and all digital access and inclusion for people with different disabilities.
GAAD is aimed at the design, development, usability, and related communities who create, shape, fund, inspire, and influence technology and its use. While people may be interested in the idea of making technology accessible and usable by people who live with disabilities, they often do not know how or where to start. Awareness, becoming knowledgeable, is the starting point.
According to the GAAD website:
The idea of a Global Accessibility Awareness Day started with a single blog post written by a Los Angeles-based web developer, Joe Devon. Jennison Asuncion, an accessibility professional from Toronto, discovered Joe’s blog post purely by accident thanks to randomly coming across this tweet from Joe. After reading it, he immediately contacted Joe and they joined forces, leveraging their extensive and respective networks to realize the event.
Watch this interview of GAAD co-founder, Jennison Asuncion, by Dr. Jonathan Hassell.
The world has come a long way since that first Global Accessibility Awareness Day, but there remains a long way to go. Technological specifications and guidelines for developers to follow to create accessible content are more readily available than ever. The challenge is more about educating developers and the general public about the existence of these guidelines and the overall need for, and value of, accessibility and inclusion.
Accessibility and inclusive design create opportunities for two very important building blocks of life, education and employment. Education can lead to employment, employment can lead to financial stability, which can lead to independence, which can lead to the ability to make important life choices and vastly elevate an individual's quality of life.
The *AccessWorld *team and I encourage you to seek out and participate in GAAD activities this coming May 21. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these activities will likely be virtual, but they can nonetheless be very impactful. We also encourage you to write to us to share how you, your students, clients, employees, and colleagues celebrated GAAD.
Speaking of the COVID-19 situation, both this month and last month, AccessWorld published virus-related content and resources we hope you found useful. AFB continues to add content to our virtual AFB Leadership Conference page, archiving free webinars that share great information on remote learning and business collaboration technologies, among other topics. Please let us know your thoughts on these resources, because we produce them for you, and we want to make sure we are meeting your needs and expectations.
That's right, we are listening to your comments on all our content and articles, reflecting on your questions about both mainstream and access technology, and hearing your thoughts and opinions on the future of braille and braille technology; video description; conference coverage; television programming access; business and education collaboration tools; accessible gaming; frustrating and inaccessible apps and feature phones; employment-related articles: interviews; and all the good, the bad, and the ugly with all things Windows, Apple, and Android; and much, much more. The AccessWorld staff enjoys and, more importantly, very much appreciates hearing from all of you. Quite often a comment or question from a reader turns into an article that, in turn, provides information to the tens of thousands of readers who visit AccessWorld each month.
As you know, AFB has discontinued support for the AccessWorld app. It has moved to a more mobile-friendly website which, we hope, has provided readers with an improved experience. We have heard both positive and negative comments. I want to make sure readers know that the AccessWorld section of the AFB website remains in transition. While it has transitioned, temporarily, to follow the form of the rest of the AFB website, in the next couple months, AccessWorld will have its own unique look, feel, and features. To accompany these changes, we will be publishing a guide to the new site, describing the changes, and offering tips for efficiently navigating the new layout. We hope you will find an even better user experience, especially when using a mobile device.
My question to each of you is, "How would you like to have AccessWorld’s content expand or change?" Please be thinking about this over the coming weeks and give us your feedback. The best way to provide feedback is to send a letter to the editor.
In addition to thoughts for the future, we are also looking for both quantitative and qualitative feedback on current articles. Right now, I encourage you to use the "Comment on this article" link at the very bottom of each article to provide feedback, positive comments, and, yes, constructive criticism, for our team. You can also use that link to ask specific questions about each article. If you prefer, you can also send an e-mail directly to me.
When you write in, remember that we may choose to publish your letter in the "Letters to the Editor" section of AccessWorld. The staff and I also believe it is important to know who says what. To that end, both first and last names (when available) are published in the "Letters to the Editor" section. If you do not want your name published, just let us know when you write in and we'll refrain from publishing your comments.
This is your opportunity to have your voice heard, so speak up! The AccessWorld staff is listening!
Lee Huffman, AccessWorld Editor-in-Chief
American Foundation for the Blind