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A Round Up of Celebrations, Awareness Building and Commitment to GAAD 2021

A yellow sign with #GAAD written in blackGlobal Accessibility Awareness Day 2021  (#GAAD) took place on May 20 this year and we put together some tools and resources to encourage partners, publishers and industry bodies to promote awareness from home offices during lockdown. Building on activities from previous years we saw our industry actively up their game this year and get more involved in educating colleagues and customers who are busy 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 Toolkit saw large numbers taking part in our fun Accessibility Quiz – slightly more challenging than last year and it was great to see so many comments on social media about the questions! 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!

OUtline of a calendar to signify an events listingA Few of the Events Held this Year

  • Inclusive Publishing Partner RedShelf celebrated GAAD with the webinar: Accessibility Metadata – A Digital Textbook Superhero.  Focusing on the “unsung hero of digital content”, RedShelf emphasised how good accessibility metadata is crucial for a successful course materials strategy.
  • Kogan-Page took the opportunity to post a case-study on the occasion of GAAD entitled, Accessible Learning: Why eLearning is Not Always Enough a first-hand learning experience from Esi Hardy, a disability inclusion expert.
  • Mc-Graw Hill used their blog platform Behind the Cube to introduce their accessibility team and to delve into what accessibility means to this department – a great way to increase awareness in-house and to promote the activities of the accessibility team. In addition, the article Creating Accessible Experiences For All Learners was published to coincide with GAAD 2021, including a video to create further discussion.

This Global Accessibility Awareness Day, McGraw Hill acknowledges the importance of accessibility and the responsibility we have to ensure all learners can use our content.

  • Hederis, book production platform, made sure that their customers and readers knew about their commitment to accessible publishing with the publication of 3 articles in the run up to GAAD together with the launch of a new alt text editor for @HederisApp.
  1. It’s never too soon to think about accessibility and it’s never too late: A Q & A with Rachel Comerford
  2. Accessibility Throughout All Phases: A Q & A with Ka Li
  3. Global Accessibility Awareness Day: A Quickstart Guide

Signpost icon on a yellow poster indicating links Links and Resources

The following links were published for GAAD – they might not all be publishing related but we think there are some valuable take-aways here for our industry:

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.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2021

Logo for Global Accessibility Awareness DayGAAD takes place on May 20 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, particularly during this challenging time when many of you are working from home. 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 whilst self-isolating.

A Publisher’s Toolkit

In 2020 there were some 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:

Take Our Accessibility Quiz!

How much do you know about ebook accessibility? Try out our 2021 quiz, share it with colleagues and see who is really “in the know”.  This is just for fun, but you can find your score along with information about each of the questions after you finish. Easy to complete from home and very straightforward to include in a variety of activities that you may have planned. Have you improved your knowledge since you took last year’s quiz? Good Luck!

The Inclusive Publishing GAAD  2021 Quiz

Awareness Building

You can easily do this from your home office so long as you and your team are online and communicating

  • Put together a blog piece in advance of GAAD. This will help to raise awareness amongst your colleagues about what GAAD is all about. This year we are delighted to signpost the Hederis blog piece: It’s never too soon to think about #a11y and it’s never too late, a terrific insight into Rachel Comerford’s work at Macmillan Learning. 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.

ReadSpeaker have published an interview in celebration of GAAD, which includes ideas for user experience sessions that you can easily set up for your colleagues.

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!

Webinars

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.

Other Events and Resources We’ve Heard About

There are some fantastic events happening in celebration of GAAD and we’ve listed a few of them below:

Let us know if you hear of any others that we should be shouting about!