Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) -- May 19, 2022

Logo for Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)

Thursday, May 19, 2022 will mark the 11th Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of GAAD is to get people talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) accessibility and users with different disabilities.

You are encouraged to explore the collection of digital accessibility resources and activities on this page. It may surprise you how the “convenience” for one person is the necessary accommodation for the next!

Accessibility Built into Personal Software and Devices

Google and Android Devices

Explore Google’s accessibility and features.

Watch a video with an overview of accessibility built into Android devices. (5m 11)

Visit the support page for Android Accessibility (includes Android Accessibility Overview)

Apple Products (iOS, Mac)

Visit the overview of built-in accessibility features for Apple Devices. This site includes links to tools and personalized settings that consider vision, mobility, hearing, and cognitive accommodations for the various Apple products: iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod touch, Apple Watch, Apple TV, HomePod, and AirPods.

Microsoft Windows and Office Products

Visit Microsoft’s overview of accessibility features of Windows, with sections on Vision, Hearing, Mobility, and Neurodiversity and learning.

Learn about how individuals requiring accessible accommodations are using  Microsoft Office 365.

Activities

20 Minute Challenge: Work on your Computer without a Mouse or Trackpad

graphic of a computer mouse with a line through it

Take twenty minutes today to work without your computer’s mouse (or laptop’s trackpad!) to understand, on the smallest scale, what it might be to live with some limits on your mobility. In Windows computers, you can use mouse keys (if you have a numeric keypad) to move your mouse pointer but of course there are lots of keyboard shortcuts in Windows, too! For Mac users, Apple has a list of common Mac keyboard shortcuts.

Specifically working inside your favorite internet browser, the #NoMouse Challenge is an organized effort to raise awareness about accessible web design. The steps for this challenge are simple; the task perhaps not-so-much! Start by navigating in a web browser without your mouse (or laptop’s trackpad). You’ll quickly learn how operable a website is based on how easily you can navigate! Ready?

Open a new tab in your browser’s window and navigate to any website, and then let go of your mouse.

  1. Press Tab to move to the next link, form element or button.
  2. Press Shift+Tab to move to the previous link, form element, or button.
  3. Press Enter or space bar to activate the current link or button.
  4. Use arrow keysEscape, or other keys to see if they help.
  5. To open a new tab, press CTRL + T (in Windows) or Cmd + T (on a Mac).
  6. To navigate to a new page, press CTRL + L or Cmd + L to get into the address bar (e.g. move the focus!) and type.

To learn about more keyboard shortcuts for web browsers, check out this page!

10 Minute Challenge: Use a Screen Reader

screen reader graphic

For an individual who can’t visually discern what’s on their computer or mobile device, one common assistive technology is to use a screen reader or text-to-speech feature. These tools and features are becoming more and more ubiquitous as they’ve found their way from being assistive technologies to being personal convenience items for all of us! For instance, if you drive you might use the text-to-speech mode turned on with Google Assistant driving mode or, if you’re on an iPhone, maybe you’ve used CarPlay to have Siri announce incoming messages. (You will find several more options for personal apps in the sites listed above!) But to simulate how important things such as a set reading order and alternative text are to a web page or other document, challenge yourself to use one of these screen readers on your computer:

5 Minute Challenge: Experience a Video without Audio or Seeing It

Graphic of computer screen with disability logo and sound waves

In making media accessible, prerecorded audio and video must include an accessible alternative format. Furthermore, prerecorded video should include an audio description if all the information conveyed visually isn’t already included in the original audio track. Individuals who have a hearing or visual impairment should be able to receive the same communication.

To experience a video without audio, simply navigate to YouTube, Vimeo, or other site and mute your speakers. If there is a closed captioning available, turn it on. If the video has been automatically captioned, you may have difficulty understanding it. Artificial intelligence, including machine-generated transcription, is very efficient but certainly isn’t always that helpful!

To experience a video without seeing it, open this intro to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and minimize your browser window. Consider how you would explain what you just “saw”. Now open the same intro, this time with audio description, and minimize your window again to see how the experience changes. If you want to listen to a few other examples of video with audio description, check out the following:

5 Minute Challenge: Use a Color Blindness Simulator

Color contrast graphic

There are several simulators available to emulate color blindness. Here are some you can try:

Search your mobile device’s app store for simulators that you can carry with you to view the world around you. (e.g., ColourBlind on Google Play or Color Blind Pal from the your Apple Store.

5 Minute Challenge: Get to Know Braille

Braille is a tactile reading and writing system used by blind and deaf-blind individuals. Braille is based on a 6-dot cell for each character.  There are static Braille keyboards, some designed for one hand and some for two, that can be used to input information into a computer or mobile device. There are refreshable Braille displays which act as a sort of screen reader – but in braille instead of audio. And there are even Braille printers.

Take a look at this beginner’s guide to Braille and see if you can translate the phrase at the top of the graphic below!  To check your results, go to our Solution Page.

Braille image of the phrase "Go Blue Jays!" and image of Braille alphabet

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