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Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2017

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), which takes place every year on 18 May, is now in its sixth year, and is growing every year as more people join in what is both a celebration of accessibility for people with disabilities and a confirmation that much work is still to be done in ensuring that our industry does everything it can to make web and digital life increasingly accessible.

These days, there is actually more emphasis on not so much increasing accessibility as just getting rid of the obstacles to access in the first place. It may amount to the same end, but the way we get there can be very different.

Perhaps the clearest example of this recently has been in Cordelia McGee Tubb’s presentation at Respond 17: The Great Accessibility Bake-Off, which was all about baking in accessibility from the very beginning rather than trying to stuff it in afterwards.

Cordelia at Respond 17

Probably the most prominent manifestation of GAAD in Australia is the series of events around the country that run under the banner of A11y Bytes, this year featuring events in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra.

I’ve been fortunate and proud to be involved with A11y Bytes in several ways, including speaking at the Sydney event and also at the A11y Camp workshop, a two-day event this year held in Sydney in September that you should also check out.

Last year, GAAD coincided with our Transform conference in Canberra on the digital transformation of government information and services. Web Directions hosted an evening of short talks at Old Parliament House where we were fortunate to have people like Dana Chisnell and Andrew Arch on hand to say a few words, plus some great talks from local accessibility advocates. There’s a nifty Wrap summary of Transforming Accessibility you might like to read.

But to really celebrate GAAD, we’re going to post here again the video of Russ Weakley’s presentation at Respond 16, Accessible Web Components Without Tears, a presentation that had a quite deep effect on many of those watching. It also involved the risk of being hit by flying chocolates but that’s another story (you can see it in the video).

Russ will be giving a lightning talk at the Sydney A11y Bytes tonight, so to warm you up for it, here’s the Respond video.

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