Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2020 (#GAAD) took place on May 21 this year and we put together some tools and resources to encourage partners, publishers and industry bodies to promote awareness from our home offices during lockdown. Building on last year’s activities we saw our industry actively get involved in educating colleagues and customers and playing their part to increase the availability of digital content to people with print disabilities, despite the challenges of a global pandemic. Congrats to all who took the time and made the effort to reaffirm their commitment to accessible publishing by marking this event in some way.
Our publisher’s “at home” toolkit was a great success with large numbers taking our fun Accessibility quiz.You can still access the quiz and use it to promote awareness and to compliment other accessibility activities that you may have in mind for your colleagues. In fact, all of our suggestions are appropriate for any time so please carry on the good work!
Selecting a few events to highlight in this report:
RedShelf, one of our Inclusive Publishing Partners, ran a webinar on the day to focus on Open Educational Resources and you can watch this still on YouTube. Keeping accessibility at the forefront of decision making is perhaps more important than ever, particularly when it comes to course materials. Many instructors are turning to Open Educational Resources (OER) during this period of rapid movement to online instruction—yet many of those tools may require alterations to ensure they are accessible to all. This session recognized Global Accessibility Awareness Day by diving into the role that OER is playing in today’s course materials strategy and how to ensure the most accessible development and distribution of that content.
VitalSource, one of our Inclusive Publishing Partners, published a blog piece entitled: Accessibility Matters More Than Ever by Rick Johnson. “We must all remember that accessibility is a journey, not a destination. Just as technology is continuously evolving and changing, so too are students’ needs.”
Macmillan Learning published their Accessibility Journey and shared this with employees on May 21. A fantastic way to confirm their commitment to accessible publishing with colleagues on the occasion of GAAD. “Accessibility touches all areas of our Macmillan Learning. It’s important, and as is typical, you all excel when presented with an ambitious goal. So, thank you for your ongoing enthusiasm and support of this important initiative.”
JoAnna Hunt, Amazon, who recently presented a DAISY webinar, published a GAAD blog piece entitled: The Severity Gap in Accessibility. “I believe that closing the severity gap in accessibility has three parts. First, we need to reset who comes to mind when businesses think about their customers so we can change their prioritization framework. Second, we need to ensure they have an objective understanding of the barriers created by accessibility defects, so they can properly evaluate impact. Finally, we need to help leaders understand the business value of investing in accessibility, so we can influence their perception of severity.”
The State University of New York (SUNY) held an accessibility week of webinars to celebrate GAAD, all of which are available to watch on YouTube. The full listing of webinars shows a wide reaching a varied program. “SUNY Accessibility Weekis specially designed to provide informative, practical accessibility knowledge to enhance inclusiveness of digital content for users with disabilities.”
Huw Alexander, textBOX prepared a piece for Typefi on The Silence of the Image, as part of their GAAD celebrations. “Writing alt-text can be a challenge, but it offers content providers a significant opportunity to engage with their audience whilst simultaneously providing a powerful marketing tool. Due to its hidden nature alt-text is often forgotten, but the coding underworld is a rich environment and enables the translation of the visual into the textual.”
These are just a few of the fantastic events that took place throughout the day and we hope to be able to build on our toolkit for next year and prepare more resources for you to use. In addition to publishing industry events there was a huge effort worldwide from other digital organizations and we’d welcome feedback on news and information from other sources that may be of interest to our readers.
Images in this post are taken from sketchnotes produced by Serena Nusing on the occasion of GAAD2020