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Global Accessibility Awareness Day: An opportunity to learn and improve
Blog //16-05-2024

Global Accessibility Awareness Day: An opportunity to learn and improve

by Chloe Ternent, Executive Assistant

On May 16th, we will be celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day, which is now in its 13th year. The idea for a Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) came about when Joe Devon, a US-based web developer, decided to write a blog post entitled ‘Accessibility know-how needs to go mainstream with developers. NOW’. He called for a day where web developers commit to raising awareness on accessibility, test their sites in an accessibility and then write a blog about what they had learned.

An accessibility professional named Jennison Asuncion discovered the blog, got in touch with Joe and GAAD as we know it was created.

On the third Thursday of May, the focus is on digital access and inclusion. There are over one billion people who are affected by inaccessibility and, in an increasingly tech-focused world, we need to continue to combat this.

What is inaccessibility?

Examples of digital inaccessibility include:

  • Videos without closed captions.
  • Not allowing for keyboard only access.
  • Moving or flickering content.

These things that may seem insignificant to one person, could be the reason that another may not be able to access a webpage. A lack of alt text will mean that visually impaired people using a screen reader will be unable to engage with pictures on a page, whilst moving and flickering content may mean that those with ADHD or other conditions can find it hard to concentrate.

As stated above, over 1 billion people are affected by inaccessible technology, with an estimated 7.5 million disabled internet users in the UK having access needs. In 2023, a WebAIM report found that 96% of the 1 million most visited web pages failed to meet current accessibility standards. We need to make sure that we

How do we make sure that we are making our content accessible?

Firstly, we can ensure that we are working within the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.2 (WCAG), which is the international standard for web accessibility. In order to see whether your website meets the compliance criteria, you can use their free Compliance Checker found here. Their accessibility principles are known by the acronym POUR and are:

  • Perceivable: Can users perceive and identify the content on the page? For many this will be visually, but also via sound (for example those who use screen readers) or touch (braille display users).
  • Operable: Regarding the operation and navigation of a website. Is the functionality dependent on having a mouse? If so, this could exclude keyboard only users. Is the website easy to navigate, and are there ways to help users determine where they are on the page?
  • Understandable: Your website interface should be predictable to navigate and consistent in its layout of information; for example, providing definitions of acronyms used or avoiding jargon that is not easily understood.
  • Robust: Websites and their content must be robust enough so that it can be compatible with a range of technology, such as assistive technology tools. This could involve not making it so a website must be used on a specific web browser that may not be compatible with assistive technology such as screen readers.

Along with this, we need to make sure that we are complying with the Equality Act 2010, which states that we (along with other UK businesses) have a:

"…duty to make reasonable adjustments requires service providers to take positive steps to ensure that disabled people can access services. This goes beyond simply avoiding discrimination. It requires service providers to anticipate the needs of potential disabled customers for reasonable adjustments."

Not only do we have a legal obligation to ensure we are combatting digital inaccessibility, we have an ethical one to serve and include those who would benefit from this. Here at OneAdvanced we take pride in being a company that celebrates all people and allows them to work to the best of their ability. This extends to our valued customers, which is why we are aiming for WCAG AA standard with the latest build of our website. We all have an opportunity to learn more, and do better, which is why we urge you all to look into GAAD to see how we can be as inclusive as possible.  

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Chloe Ternent

Chloe Ternent

PUBLISHED BY

Executive Assistant

Chloe Ternent is an Executive Assistant at OneAdvanced and has been chair of the Enable D&I Network since December 2022. She is passionate about increasing awareness of the importance of disability inclusion within OneAdvanced and the wider world.

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