This year’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) takes place on Thursday 20 May 2021. Now in its tenth year, GAAD is an annual international event that seeks to raise awareness and drive conversations about digital accessibility. If you are reading this post when it was published (the 1st April), it means there are 50 days to go to GAAD 2021.
Recently we’ve been covering what you can do to help drive a deeper awareness of and commitment to digital accessibility; firstly by trying to get it on to your organisation’s learning curriculum, and secondly by establishing a deeper culture of accessibility. In this third and final post, we cover some ideas of what you can do to celebrate GAAD in your own organisation.
Better awareness is critical as it helps to drive the actions and the commitments that we need to improve digital accessibility. Each year organisations (including Sitemorse) usually carry out some kind of event to celebrate which can help drive that awareness, and we will post details closer to the time. For digital teams inside organisations, it’s also an excellent time to raise awareness around digital accessibility, galvanise people into action and move things forward.
With 50 days to go, it’s a great time to make your plans to get ready for GAAD. There’s always been something that resonates with the idea of trying to achieve something in 50 days – it’s short enough to keep up momentum but long enough to make realistic progress.
Here’s five ideas on how you can get ready for GAAD 2021.
Some teams can shy away from organising GAAD events because it shines a light on the poor state of their own digital accessibility. Of course, the best way to go into GAAD is demonstrating that you have made progress and are able to report success. This shows it is possible to improve accessibility and sets a good example.
If you are able get started as soon as possible, 50 days is enough time to make real progress in improving accessibility. You can follow a simple methodology that we’ve seen work very well across some of our clients, using a platform like Sitemorse for measurement, and then working steadily through a prioritised set of fixes. Start now, follow this for 50 days, and you will make tangible progress to give you something to celebrate in May.
If you are able to report success on GAAD, then it’s still likely that there is progress you will need to make. Here you could set another 50-day, or perhaps a 100 day, target to improve accessibility that starts on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, inviting and inspiring other teams to get involved and commit to improving the digital accessibility of the content0and the channels they own.
If you weren’t able to improve digital accessibility in the run up to GAAD, then 20 May could be the day you do start that journey. Here you can use the time in the run up to GAAD to get others to sign up to an improvement plan, and line up what you need to support that improvement.
GAAD is a great opportunity for an organisation to communicate its commitment to improving digital accessibility, both inside an organisation and even externally. If you haven’t got a formal strategy or plan or written commitment relating to digital accessibility, GAAD is also a good target date to try and get agreement from different stakeholders to contribute to and approve an agreed plan. A simple “manifesto” that emphasises the commitment and the actions that are going to make it happen can be a good, punchy format here.
GAAD is all about awareness. Creating an internal online event to help drive general awareness can be a good option here, particularly if you partner up with your Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) team to increase interest. An online event is also relatively inexpensive to run, you can distribute the recording afterwards, and even edit it down to create a very short video to launch to all employees. With 50 days to go to GAAD, this gives you plenty of time to organise this.
If you are organising an event internally, you can also potentially partner up with an accessibility expert or a third-party organisation such as a charity that involves disabled people, in order to make the message more impactful. There may even be some scope to organise an external-facing event too that highlights your organisation’s commitment to digital accessibility; this also sends a strong internal message.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day is an important day in the accessibility calendar. At the time of writing there are 50 days to go. What are you doing to get ready for GAAD?