Celebrate with Us! Global Accessibility Awareness Day We recognize our initiatives towards digital inclusion: AccessWorld®, AFB Talent Lab 2023, Barriers to Digital Inclusion Survey

Each year, the third Thursday of the month marks Global Accessibility Awareness Day. This year, on May 18th, the American Foundation for the Blind wanted to share some updates and actions we can all take to help make the world more inclusive online for people with disabilities.

Since developer Joe Devon first posed the concept of a day dedicated to expanding awareness in late 2011, we have seen a continuous uptick in the participation #GAAD garners each year. Now in its 12th year, it’s been echoed throughout the community that there is now so much activity on this day that perhaps we need to expand to a week or more on digital inclusion and accessibility.

No doubt, AFB has been quite busy on raising awareness around digital inclusion. In fact, stay tuned as we will be keeping the flame alive in the coming days following GAAD to roll out more opportunities for raising awareness around digital inclusion and accessibility.

Much of our energy has come through the thoughtful work undertaken by our Public Policy & Research Institute (PPRI). Over the past year, we have released a number of studies and toolkits with a focus on digital inclusion. Most recently is our Barriers to Digital Inclusion Survey, which reminds us that there is still an enormous amount of obstacles for web and mobile app users who are blind or have low vision.

Taking Action for Digital Inclusion

Our advocacy team within PPRI has been hard at work making sure that the findings our research uncovers resonate throughout the halls of Congress and across the Federal Government. AFB continues to call on the Department of Justice to move immediately on implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which has significantly lacked clear regulations on making the Internet fully accessible. AFB has also signed on to a coalition statement from 52 organizations calling for greater digital inclusion. The team has worked closely with Hon. Tony Coelho, who recently received AFB’s Helen Keller Achievement Award, and who co-authored a bipartisan essay published today with former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich that cites AFB research and calls for Congressional hearings on digital inclusion for people with disabilities.

AccessWorld Expands Reach

But our work on GAAD does not just stop there. Recognizing the importance to make sure our message of inclusion is heard far and wide, AFB is excited to announce today that our flagship publication AccessWorld will be expanding its focus to target the digital inclusion community-including developers, product and hiring managers, as well as those looking to enter the access industry. The online magazine dropped its latest issue today, and readers will dive into the inner workings of our rapidly expanding digital world. There, they will learn what’s working well, and what developers can do to make sure online products and services are completely accessible for blind and low-vision consumers. Eventually, AccessWorld will be building up a community that can help embrace and carry on the conversation around the stories it covers. Moving forward, AccessWorld will slide into a quarterly release. But, don’t worry, because we’ll be hearing from our expert authors and contributors in other ways as we build out our community that embraces digital accessibility at all levels.

To hear more about these exciting opportunities on AFB’s horizon, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, where we will hold on GAAD our first LinkedIn Live chat. There will be more of those to come into the summer. So, be sure to follow us on social media, and help spread the news by sharing the items referenced in this post.