GAAD 2022: Advocates of accessible content
What is Global Accessibility Awareness Day?
May 19, 2022, is the 11th Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)! The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about digital access and inclusion for people with various disabilities/impairments.
Accessibility is about inclusivity
According to The World Bank, around 15% of the world’s population experiences some form of disability—that’s more than 1 billion people worldwide! This audience is significantly underserved by today’s digital content.
What is their experience like, you may wonder? To improve your awareness and understanding of the challenges they face, take a few moments and put yourself in their shoes. Experience first-hand the impact of digital accessibility (or lack thereof). Here are a few challenges to try:
- Go mouse-less for 15 minutes. Only use your keyboard alone (tab/shift-tab, arrow keys, enter and spacebar) to navigate and interact with your favourite websites and applications.
- Surf the web with a free screen reader. Try NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) for Windows, or VoiceOver for Mac.
- Enlarge your fonts. In your browser, zoom in +200 percent and make sure there is no loss of content or functionality.
The insight gained from these types of experiences will no doubt bring accessibility to the fore when creating new content or optimising existing content.
How to improve the accessibility of your content: tips from Guy van der Kolk
There are many changes you can make to improve accessibility and you don’t have to do them all at once—remember, some accessibility is better than no accessibility at all! As you learn more about the importance of digital access, keep making those incremental improvements along the way.
Guy van der Kolk, Product Manager and keen accessibility advocate at Typefi, has great advice in these blog posts on small steps you can take to ensure your content serves more people—
If you find yourself in the daunting position of introducing accessibility into your company’s content strategy, don’t panic. Here are three ways to introduce accessibility into your digital content strategy, and your organisation:
- Choose a portion of the content to focus on when optimising for accessibility
- Start optimising for accessibility by adding descriptions and structure, and provide output options
- Share your accessibility knowledge with your peers to gain project support
The global pandemic has highlighted the fact that not all information is available equally. A lot of this information cannot be consumed by people with disabilities, because it hasn’t been produced with accessibility in mind! With vast Microsoft Word experience under his belt, Guy shares 7 ways to improve the accessiblity of your Word documents:
- Use Word’s built-in heading styles
- Add ALT text to images
- Use actual bullets and numbers
- Use table headers
- Make hyperlinks descriptive
- Add a descriptive title
- Do an accessibility check
Removing the barriers in digital content
Accessibility isn’t a one-off thing. Share your learnings as you go and raise the awareness and importance of content accessibility for all. If you’re lucky enough to be part of the 85% who can consume content without issues, it’s easy to forget the 15% who cannot. So, make a start today, the 15% will thank you!
What are the best resources on digital content accessibility?
There are many fantastic resources available online, but here are a few of our favourites:
- The GAAD website: See a list of things you can do or check to ensure your content is more accessible to consumers with disabilities.
- World Wide Web Consortium (W3C): This is an excellent resource that provides strategies, standards, and resources to help you make the Web more accessible to people with disabilities.
- Chax Chat accessibility: Listen to this fantastic podcast from accessibility experts, Chad Chelius and Dax Castro.
Accessible publishing with Typefi
Typefi’s solutions help organisations improve the user experience by building accessibility right into an organisation’s publishing workflows. We’re proud to offer a solution that supports a more inclusive society and ensures equal access to information for all.
To learn more about Typefi’s solutions for accessible publishing, and to access a list of accessibility resources, visit our Accessible Publishing page.