Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2019

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2019

Thursday, May 16 is the eighth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). GAAD’s purpose is “to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) access/inclusion and people with different disabilities.” As part of the global GAAD celebration, UA technology accessibility liaisons will share their success stories, Campus Communicators will learn about Designing for Accessibility, and the Faculty Resource Center’s Technology Accessibility team will host several webinars in A232 Gordon Palmer Hall (see Technology Accessibility events on the UA Events Calendar).

In addition to these events, we encourage you to participate by experiencing first-hand the impact of digital accessibility (or lack thereof). Suggested activities from the GAAD website:

Go Mouseless For An Hour

Go ahead and unplug your mouse and only use your keyboard alone (tab/shift tab, arrow keys, enter and spacebar) to navigate and interact with your favorite websites and applications. If you use a touchpad, trackpad or similar input method, disable it, and use the keyboard instead.

Developers and designers, we encourage you to visit a site you were involved in creating and take it for a test-drive.

  • Is there a visible focus indicator (i.e., do you know where you are) at all times as you navigate each screen using the tab and shift tab keys?
  • Are you able to interact with every element that receives focus using the keyboard alone?
  • If there is any element that provides functionality if you hover over it with your mouse, such as revealing a tooltip or a set of actions, can you display this strictly using the keyboard alone?

Enlarge Your Fonts

Check that your page(s) is accessible and usable for low vision/visually impaired users.

To do this, use your browser and resize the text to 200 percent. Now look at the screen, and make sure there is no loss of content or functionality.

Have all elements resized, including all widgets?

To meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines V2.0 Level AA, the only allowable exceptions are captions and images of text.

Check for Sufficient Color Contrast

An often forgotten but important accessibility item is making sure that a page has sufficient color contrast.

Download a color contrast analyzer such as this one from The Paciello Group (which works for Windows and Mac) and find out how your page(s) stack up.

Check Order of Elements

Check your Page(s) to make sure elements will be read by screen readers in the correct order.

To check this, disable the page’s stylesheets and compare the order of elements before and after.

Surf The Web With A Screen Reader For An Hour

There are a number of free/open source screen readers available for Windows users. One of the more popular ones is NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA). Take a bit of time beforehand to download the software and learn some of NVDA’s documented basic keystrokes.

Mac users, you have a built-in screen reader called VoiceOver on your systems. Take some time to visit the site referenced to familiarize yourself with how to turn on VoiceOver and some of the basic keystrokes.

On May 16, unplug your mouse (blind users do not use the mouse), launch your screen reader, and spend an hour using some of your favorite sites strictly using the keyboard alone (tab/shift tab, arrow keys, enter and spacebar) and not the mouse/trackpad. Why not turn off your screen and depend strictly on the information conveyed by the screen reader.

Developers and designers, we encourage you to visit a site you were involved in creating and take it for a test-drive.

Learn About And Use Other OS/Mobile Accessibility Features

The Windows 10 Operating System has a number of built-in accessibility features, as does the Mac Operating SystemiPhoneAndroid, and BlackBerry devices also have accessibility features. Take an hour to explore what these are and try them out on the Web. In the case of the mobile devices, why not try using some of your favorite apps with different accessibility features enabled.

Try Other Adaptive Software Tools

The Adaptech Research Network has a library of free or inexpensive software that is useful to people with disabilities. Why not try one or more of these software.