As Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) approaches, AT&T proudly supports its goal to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion for all. This year’s uptick in online activity has only increased the urgency of that mission.
“As a result of COVID-19, people have been pushed to use online resources more than ever… to communicate, shop and tap the information and interactions we all depend on to live our lives the fullest,” said AT&T Director of Privacy & Compliance Kris Watts. “As a company dedicated to human progress through technology and communication, AT&T supports GAAD’s mission to raise awareness and practical knowledge about how to make the digital world inclusive to all.”
In its eighth year, GAAD shines a light on the fact that people with disabilities are underserved by many of today’s digital products, and it highlights a critical area of opportunity. “We support GAAD because designing accessible online experiences is the right thing to do,” said Kris. “And, it makes sense to do so from a business perspective. With roughly one in four adults in the U.S. living with some form of disability, the impact to our customer base is significant.”
Web designers, developers and UX experts can greatly impact the future of inclusion online, but Kris believes it takes commitment at all levels for organizations to successfully address these challenges. “Building accessible products and services takes collaboration across a business, and continued, ongoing support from leadership is critical to the success of these efforts,” he said.
It also takes vision. “Digital accessibility is a journey not a destination. While no organization is perfect, what is important is to remain committed to continually learning and improving our processes and approach as we work toward inclusion for all,” Kris said. “We believe accessibility can and should be built into the work that we do and applied in such a way that it becomes ‘business as usual’ for us and our customers.”
Are you part of the digital accessibility solution? Take one of the challenges below to build your own awareness and spread the word to others.
Take the digital accessibility challenge
Global Accessibility Awareness Day presents the opportunity to raise awareness about what digital accessibility means and why it is critical to the 61 million Americans who have some form of disability. Take one of the following challenges to expand your awareness and support this important mission:
1. Go mouseless for an hour.
For a variety of reasons, someone might be unable to use a mouse or other external pointing device to control a computer. Make your mouse “disappear” for an hour to enhance your understanding of what it takes to function as a keyboard or voice-only user.
2. Enlarge your fonts.
How do users with low or no vision experience the web? To find out, visit a favorite website and resize the text in your web browser to 200 percent. Then, look at the screen to see how it impacts your experience. Is there is a loss of content or functionality? Check all the page elements to see if they resized accordingly.
3. Surf the web with a screen reader.
Screen reader technology is vital to users with low or no vision. To understand what that’s like, test drive a screen reader. Windows users might try NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) by downloading the free software. Mac users have a built-in screen reader called VoiceOver. Try downloading and/or turning on this functionality and practicing basic keystrokes and see how you do
4. Explore the accessibility features on your smart phone.
Choose an operating system to learn more:
5. Attend one of the many online GAAD events.
There are many ways to honor GAAD and foster awareness. Check out their website for a listing of events through May 21, featuring an array of topics related to digital accessibility.
6. Share your digital accessibility experience on LinkedIn or Twitter.
Take to Twitter or LinkedIn and help raise awareness for GAAD by sharing the story of your digital accessibility challenge: #attaccessibility, #gaad.