I had the pleasure of attending the very first Gaadys Awards in San Francisco on the 8th November 2023.
Two firsts for me; a trip to San Francisco and accepting a global award on behalf of the Studio 24 team.
The Gaadys recognise and celebrate contributions from individuals and groups that advance the GAAD (Global Accessibility Awareness Day) Foundation’s vision: accessibility is built into the product development lifecycle for technology and digital products.
They are organised by the GAAD Foundation, a nonprofit organisation whose mission is to disrupt the culture of technology and digital product development to include accessibility as a core requirement.
I had the pleasure of meeting both Joe Devon and Jennison Asuncion, who both co-founded Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Joe currently serves as the Chair of the GAAD Foundation, and Jennison is LinkedIn’s Head of Accessibility Engineering Evangelism. He also sits on the Boards of Directors for the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired San Francisco, Knowbility, and Accessible Media Inc.
The evening started with drinks and networking at the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco, a fantastic venue. There was such a friendly and celebratory vibe and I got to meet some amazing people, all passionate about accessibility.
After lots of interesting conversations, it was time for the awards. The three winners announced on the evening were:
First up was Amber Hinds, CEO of Equalize Digital who talked about their automated accessibility scanning plugin to help WordPress websites become and stay accessible.
She was followed by Caspar Thykier, Co-Founder and CEO of Zappar, who worked with Unilever and RNIB to develop Accessible QR codes (AQR) to enable a more inclusive shopping experience.
And then it was time for us to talk through the highlights of the W3C redesign project and collect our award.
I covered a few key project areas in my speech and focussed on:
- Accessibility and how we ensured this was a core part of the project, including a WCAG AAA navigation (which received a cheery round of applause!);
- Choosing an accessible content management system (CMS); and
- How we worked in the open throughout to involve the W3C community.
I felt truly humbled and so proud to accept this award on behalf of our team at Studio 24, and for W3C; all of whom worked so hard on this project. The award is a testament to their determination, dedication and passion.
I must say a special thanks to Mindy Morgan, Senior Coordinator at the GAAD Foundation, who not only organised the awards but made the beautiful trophies!
And that was it, the first Gaadys Awards over. Congratulations again to all of the other amazing winners and to the GAAD Foundation for organising such a fabulous event.
I ended the night celebrating with a delicious Italian meal and then got to spend the next 3 days exploring the wonderful city of San Francisco; and of course, yes I did go to Alcatraz!