May 18: Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Illustration: Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)
May 1, 2017

Celebrate the occasion in 30 different ways.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is a community-driven worldwide effort dedicated to:

raising the profile of and introducing the topic of digital (web, software, mobile app/device etc.) accessibility and people with different disabilities to the broadest audience possible.

Why an Accessibility Awareness Day?

Accessibility is often the last thing on web content authors, designers, developers, and technology procurers minds.


  • a person is in fairly decent health, with good eyesight and good hearing;
  • he/she doesn't have any cognitive or learning issues, has the full range of motor skills;
  • he/she is reasonably well educated and is pretty good at using a computer;
  • most of the people he/she meets every day are more or less like himself or herself, and nothing much gets in the way;


It can be easy to forget that a lot of people aren't like this and that some of these people are those who may have trouble using their web page, site, or application.

Ideas for Celebrating

  1. Take your mouse/track ball/pointing device and throw it out the window. Okay, don't really do that, you might not be able to find it again. But don't use your mouse for an hour. Use only your keyboard. Realize that people who use screen readers or have mobility issues can't use a mouse.
  2. Experience motor loss by switching your mouse to your non-dominant hand for an hour.
  3. Experience the web without images. Turn off images in your browser and surf the web for an hour.
  4. Experience reduced vision. Dim the screen on your mobile phone and use it in bright sunlight.
  5. Experience video without sound by turning it off.
  6. Surf the web with a screen reader for an hour using one of the following:
    • ChromeVox: a screen reader for the Chrome browser.
    • VoiceOver: a screen reader built into Apple computer operating systems.
    • NVDA: an open source screen reader for PCs.
  7. Introduce yourself to the subject of accessibility with Accessibility 101. Topics include the What, Who, Why, How, and When of web accessibility.
  8. Dive in deeper by learning how structure makes a document more inclusive and by learning how text alternatives make images more accessible.
  9. Learn about WCAG Principles and Implementation.
  10. Check out WCAG 2.1's Public Working Draft.
  11. Get Web Accessibility News First. Subscribe to the Webdesign Update Newsletter and receive accessibility information first in each issue.
  12. Browse the Web Design Update archives:
  13. Learn how the Social Model of Disability is a way of understanding access issues and how to treat all members of society as equal.
  14. Learn how accessibility impacts people with disabilities and benefits everyone in Web Accessibility: Essential for Some, Useful for All.
  15. Watch a series of short videos that provide a fun way to learn core accessibility skills in AccessibleUooza.
  16. Learn Accessibility Core Skills.
  17. Learn which common accessibility failures put institutions of higher education at risk for litigation in Accessibility Risks and Evidence..
  18. Discover how a new solution helps solve a major issue for captioning 3rd party videos in Captioning Challenges When Someone Else Owns the Copyright.
  19. Watch a fun, upbeat video and find out about the Benefits of Captioning.
  20. Learn how audio description is not a novelty, but as necessary to a person with visual disabilities as captioning is to a person who is Deaf or hard-of-hearing in Audio Description for Inclusive Video.
  21. Improve Microsoft Word Accessibility with a great series of 2 to 5 minute videos.
  22. Learn Accessibility with Online Training Videos.
  23. Correct YouTube Auto-Captions and improve accessibility.
  24. Improve Accessibility. Think Before You Link.
  25. Learn 7 Things You Should Know about IT Accessibility in this quick read from EDUCAUSE.
  26. Watch the video of the webinar: Implementing Accessible Workplace Tech: PDF Accessibility.
  27. Learn about Read&Write Gold software, which was developed primarily to assist students with print disabilities, but has the capacity to help all individuals succeed.
  28. Test a page of a website with an accessibility tool such as the WAVE.
    • Go to
    • Enter your web page URL.
    • Hit your enter or return button to get feedback on the page's accessibility.
  29. Test a website with the Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE) Tool.
  30. Visit the Web Design Reference site, a mega-reference (over 6,000 links) of information and articles about web design and development. The majority of its specific accessibility info is listed at: