Today is the seventh annual global accessibility awareness day (GAAD) when people around the world encourage mainstream technology developers to think of and include options for those who cannot use conventional means.
This all started back in 2011 when one backend developer issued a simple challenge to the developer community:
On this day, every web developer will be urged to test at least one page on their site in an accessibility tool. After fixing up the page, they are urged to blog about what they changed and inspire others to follow suit.
Since then, it has expanded significantly, with the current mission:
The target audience of GAAD is the design, development, usability, and related communities who build, shape, fund and influence technology and its use. While people may be interested in the topic of making technology accessible and usable by persons with disabilities, the reality is that they often do not know how or where to start. Awareness comes first.
For more information and a list of today’s events and activities:
Among other events, most Apple stores are holding free seminars on the accessibility features of their devices. This can be a great way to introduce developers, even individual hobby coders, to VoiceOver options, for example.
The BBC is live-blogging an expert panel discussion on accessible design. Among their important observations:
So much of the this accessible, helpful tech used to be very expensive when it was aimed at a niche market of disabled users. The best thing that’s happening right now is everyone using this tech, bringing the cost right down, making it commonplace.
There are lots of other events today, both online and in person, for those who are interested. ( The online ones will typically be archived for future reference in case you were coming to this post after the day itself.)
I am unaware of any Samsung or SmartThings participation— if there are any, please let us know. ( if there aren’t any, you might want to start thinking about next year. )