Are You Ready For Global Accessibility Awareness Day?

Logo for Global Accessibility Awareness Day

GAAD takes place on May 16th this year and we’d like to encourage all our readers to take part so that we can build awareness in our industry and play our part to increase the availability of your digital content to people with print disabilities, especially as we are beginning to return to in-house working. If your organization has an accessibility advocate then this is their chance to build awareness and co-ordinate activities that your teams may be able to take part in whether at home or in the office.

A Publisher’s Toolkit

There are always many exciting events surrounding GAAD and we have put together a few ideas in our annual GAAD Toolkit to help you organize something yourself. It might be an event surrounding awareness building and advocacy or it might be a more technical dive into what makes an accessible ebook. Whatever you choose, please send us the details so that we can tell others about your good work and build on this for future events. We have lots of ideas to get you started:

Celebrate Your Success

GAAD presents an opportunity you to reflect and to celebrate how far you have come on your accessibility journey. Take a moment to remind yourselves about the challenges you’ve overcome and think about all the wins, both big and small, that have contributed to where you find yourself today. Take a moment to celebrate with colleagues!

Awareness Building

Building awareness remains as important as ever:

  • Put together a blog piece in advance of GAAD. This will help to raise awareness amongst your colleagues about what GAAD is all about.  We have resources and tools that you can include in your own post to spark interest and encourage questions! A good place to start is our Introduction to Inclusive Publishing.
  • Alternatively, you are welcome to cross-post any of the interesting articles that we have published on Inclusive Publishing during the last year. Contact us if you need help finding the correct piece for your newsletter.
  • Think about updating your accessibility statement in time for GAAD. Have a look at the work of ASPIRE which is all about increasing the effectiveness of your organizational accessibility statement
  • Hold an online social event to promote your support of accessible publishing. Set up a “party” online to discuss awareness issues and next steps for your company when you return to the workplace. (Zoom offers the most accessible online conferencing experience we have found).
  • Introduce your colleagues to web accessibility and W3C standards via this W3C video session, available in numerous languages.

User Experience

GAAD is a great chance to find out for yourself what it’s like to be a print disabled reader. You can put together all manner of sessions to focus on this but here are a few ideas:

  • Go mouseless for an hour—unplug your mouse and only use your keyboard (tab/shift tab, arrow keys, enter and spacebar) to navigate and interact with content.
  • Experience reading using assistive technology – try 10 minutes with a screen reader for example
  • You may wish to set up a UX session so that your colleagues can experience accessibility features such as Voice Over.
  • Try your hand at writing image descriptions—collect a few images from the content that you publish together with some contextual information. See how your colleagues fare in writing alt text! This could be a fun challenge that would be easy or organise for those of you working from home.
  • Encourage your colleagues to watch the new UX demos which formed part of the NNELS accessible publishing summit this year. These YouTube demos concentrated on Reflowable EPUB and Fixed Layout EPUB and were invaluable.

Accessible EPUB

  • GAAD for Geeks! If  your technical ebook developers can run an online demonstration of what makes an EPUB accessible it would be a fantastic resource for you to share with colleagues. The benefits of using EPUB 3 are significant for accessibility and a short presentation about this would greatly increase understanding of the technical advantages of building a11y in from the very start of the content creation process. See our top tips page for some guidance on this.
  • Ask the Expert! EPUB for non-technical teams. Try running something similar for your non-technical teams. They may not need to know the technical details but will appreciate and understand information on how your content production teams are handling accessibility for mainstream product. Our EPUB resources pages for publishers will be able to give you some pointers on this. They will be delighted to know that you have this in-hand!


Encourage your colleagues to watch one of our free webinars available on the DAISY YouTube channel. We have many different sessions available already and lots more planned for the future so this would be a terrific time to ask your co-workers to choose something new and interesting. If you host a discussion following a webinar viewing you could initiate some interesting debate which we would love to hear about.


We are gathering information on events that are happening during the week of GAAD. Let us know if we’ve missed something our readers might like to be involved in or that may inspire them for their own planning!