Today marks the sixth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), a day inspired by Los Angeles-based web developer Joe Devon in an effort to get people talking, thinking and learning about building an accessible and inclusive web.
Today is a day meant to encourage our industry to make the web a better place for everyone. Whether that’s through learning how to use Assistive Technology (AT) like JAWS or the semantics of HTML5, we have a myriad of ways to build a better web.
But it’s important to remember that building an accessible and inclusive web is about empowering and enabling people to access the information they need.
Because for all the tricks, tools and technologies we have, at the end of the day, the web is still built by people, for people.
Putting people first
Getting to know the people you are building for goes a long way towards increasing awareness that many people access information in many different ways, for many different reasons.
Disabilities come in many different forms. From someone aided by a wheelchair (physical), someone who is blind (visual), someone who is hearing impaired or deaf (auditory), someone who is nonverbal (verbal) to someone who has dyslexia (cognitive).
Keeping everyone in mind is challenging but for some people, being able to access information online and having the freedom to do so, is vital.
- One in twenty-two, that’s 324 million people, are visually impaired or blind.
- One in twenty, that’s 360 million people, are hearing impaired or deaf.
- One in ten, that’s 720 million people, have dyslexia.
In total, one in seven, that’s 1 billion people, who have some form of disability.
But in reality, this is a fraction of the people who benefit from an accessible web.
Now you might think this doesn’t apply to you but disabilities also exist in different circumstances; from permanent and temporary disabilities to situational disabilities.
From someone aided by a wheelchair (permanent) to someone with a broken arm (temporary). Or someone holding their child in one arm (situational), we all have circumstances when we’re disabled.
Which means that everyone, that’s over 7 billion people and counting, benefit from an accessible web.
And even if you’re not benefitting from it right in this very moment, your circumstances might change.
So what are you going to do for an inclusive web today?