Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2022: what is it, and how can I help improve digital accessibility?

Thursday, May 19, 2022, marks the 11th Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

<p>Global Accessibility Awareness Day focuses on digital access and inclusion for people with disabilities or impairments. (Image shows visually impaired person working on computer with assistive technology) </p>

Global Accessibility Awareness Day focuses on digital access and inclusion for people with disabilities or impairments. (Image shows visually impaired person working on computer with assistive technology)

It is estimated that 15 per cent of the world’s population has a disability, which means that more than one billion people could face daily challenges when using digital devices.

Figures show that there are now 14.1 million disabled people in the UK, including 19% of working-age adults and 44% of pension-age adults in the UK.

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Around 1.5 million people in the UK also have a learning disability, with 350,000 of these severe.

With digital technology now playing a key role in our lives, it’s crucial that everyone has the same user experience.

Here is everything you need to know about Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

What is Global Accessibility Awareness Day?

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is held on the third Thursday of May and focuses on digital access and inclusion for people alive today who live with disabilities or impairments.

The awareness day was launched in May 2012 by Los Angeles-based web developer Joe Devon and has attracted the attention of companies including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple, who are working together to create accessibility features on their platforms.

The aim is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access/inclusion so that people with disabilities can experience the same web-based services, content and other digital products as those without disabilities.

What can be done to improve Digital Accessibility?

There are plenty of ways to modify devices to engage with websites, such as using a keyboard instead of a mouse to navigate and using a screen reader.

Websites can also make these changes to make sites more accessible and inclusive:

Creating a video and captioning it will ensure that people who are deaf or hard of hearing can still watch it.

Ensuring you have good colour contrast makes content easier to read for people with low vision and also for any users accessing your website or app when out in the sunshine.

An uncluttered screen, consistent navigation, and the use of plain language can help people with different learning disabilities/impairments.

How can I help make a difference?

As part of the National World plc group, we are proud of our role in promoting accessibility and equal access while recognizing there is much work still to be done on our websites to make them accessible for all.

We are looking to assemble an "accessibility feedback panel" and invite those with disabilities to reach out and sign up.

When building new features for the National World plc sites, feedback from actual people can be tremendously valuable.

Disabilities affect web browsing behaviour in a variety of ways, so customer feedback can help us as a company learn about accessibility issues that affect real-world users.

Fixing those issues can make our sites more appealing for those with and without disabilities.

You can take part in our survey via this link https://forms.gle/EAejA5pCCP5X5L8N9.