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Get your GAAD on!

May 16 2019 is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). We’re getting our GAAD on by introducing every designer’s favourite font, Comic Sans, into our logo and tagline—just for today!

Why Comic Sans?

According to the British Dyslexia Association, Comic Sans is one readily-available font that may be preferred by people with dyslexia due to its good ascenders and descenders, different forms for capital I, lowercase l and digit 1, rounded g as in handwriting, and letter-spacing.

While there is certainly anecdotal evidence to support this, it would seem that there is no common agreement amongst dyslexic people on a preferred typeface, except that it should be sans serif.

A 2014 research review by Bigelow and Holmes also found no evidence for one best typeface for dyslexia.

Still, whether you love it or hate it, we think going Comic Sans for the day is a great way to draw attention to the importance of accessibility in publishing.

What is Global Accessibility Awareness Day?

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is a worldwide event—now in its eighth year—that aims to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion for people with various disabilities.

The website offers suggestions for how you can participate, including:

  • Go mouseless for an hour—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 for an hour—try NVDA for Windows, or VoiceOver for Mac. (Bonus points for doing it all with your eyes closed!)

If you don’t live with a disability that impacts on how you consume print and digital content, this exercise will really help you to understand the challenges faced by those who do. There’s so much content in the world that is simply not set up in a way that makes it accessible, even with the help of assistive technologies like a screen reader.

If you’re a web developer or digital content producer, the GAAD website provides a list of simple things you can do or check to make sure your content is more accessible to consumers with disabilities. And if you want to take it further, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has developed the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to help you achieve compliance with global accessibility standards.

Typefi and accessibility

Typefi has been helping organisations around the world publish content in accessible formats for over a decade.

Late last year, we launched the Enabling Accessible Publishing program, which aims to help create an inclusive society where information is freely accessible to all.

The program provides free Typefi software and services to not-for-profit, volunteer-driven organisations that are producing content in accessible formats for people living with visual, auditory, physical, or cognitive disabilities.

We believe that accessible publishing creates a better experience for all consumers, and that it need not be expensive or time consuming.

To learn more about Typefi’s solutions for accessible publishing, and to access a list of accessibility resources, visit our Accessible Publishing page.

Get excited about accessibility!

Hopefully, at some point in the future, we won’t need Global Accessibility Awareness Day, because building for accessibility will become so mainstream that it’s simply second nature. Until then, however, join us in getting your GAAD on, and help make the world a more inclusive place!

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