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Celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day May 15

Discover what Accessibility Awareness Day is and check out over 30 ways you can celebrate it.

Logo: Global Accessibility Awareness DayGlobal Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is a community-driven worldwide effort dedicated to:

raising the profile of and introducing the topic of digital (web, software, mobile app/device etc.) accessibility and people with different disabilities to the broadest audience possible.

Why an Accessibility Awareness Day?

Accessibility is often the last thing on Web content authors, designers, developers, and technology procurers minds.


  • a person is in fairly decent health, with good eyesight and good hearing;
  • he/she doesn't have any cognitive or learning issues, has the full range of motor skills; and fluent in the local tongue;
  • he/she is reasonably well educated and is pretty good at using the computer;
  • most of the people he/she meets every day are more or less like himself or herself, and nothing much gets in the way;


It can be easy to forget that a lot of people aren't like this and that some of these people are those who may have trouble using their Web page, site, or application.

Ideas for Celebrating

The following list offers ways to lift your accessibility awareness level. Please consider completing one or more of them.

  1. Take your mouse/track ball/pointing device and throw it out the window. Okay, don't really do that, you might not be able to find it again. But don't use your mouse for an hour. Use only your keyboard. Realise that people who use screen readers or have mobility issues and can't use a mouse.
  2. Experience motor loss by switching your mouse to your non-dominant hand for 60 minutes.
  3. Experience the Web without images. Turn off images in your browser and surf the Web for 60 minutes.
  4. Experience reduced vision. Dim the screen on your mobile phone and use it in bright sunlight.
  5. Experience video without sound by turning it off. Or check out the Caption Fail YouTube Channel where "Rhett and Link let YouTube closed captions interpret their original script, then act it out again."
  6. Surf the Web with a screen reader for an hour using one the following:
    • ChromeVox: a screen reader for the Chrome browser.
    • VoiceOver: a screen reader built into Apple computer operating systems.
    • NVDA: an open source screen reader for PCs.
  7. Introduced yourself to the subject of accessibility with Accessibility 101. Topics include the What, Who, Why, How, and When of Web accessibility.
  8. Obtain an overview of Assistive Technology.
  9. Learn how Video Captioning can help to create a more inclusive environment as well as how to meet UMD captioning requirements with our captioning service.
  10. Get any short video captioned free at captioningWORKS until May 15, 2014.
  11. Discover how inaccessible Websites reduce the quality of life in Dr. Lazar's presentation: Locked Out.
  12. Check out the video, Aleeha's Accessibility Story, where a zoology major at Miami University who is blind and is studying to be a veterinarian speaks to how new accessible technology has enabled her life.
  13. Discover how an Indiana State University student, Tracy Brookshire, uses a Multi-Sensory Approach to Learning With Assistive Technology.
  14. Check out Tommy Edison's demo of sending an email with Apple's VoiceOver.
  15. Learn about Accessibility's Impact on Mobile.
  16. Become aware of how Touch Accessibility Helps the Blind and Visually Impaired.
  17. Find out about Google Apps Accessibility and Barriers.
  18. Learn about Read&Write Gold software, which was developed primarily to assist students with print disabilities, but has the capacity to help all individuals succeed.
  19. Test a page of a Web site with an accessibility tool such as the WAVE.
    • Go to
    • Enter your web page URL.
    • Hit your enter or return button to get feedback on the page's accessibility.
  20. Test a Web site with HiSoftware Compliance Sheriff. The University of Minnesota has a licensed version of HiSoftware Compliance Sheriff for University of Minnesota use.
  21. Improve the accessibility of your Web pages and documents by implementing 10 Web Accessibility Tips.
  22. Dive in deeper by learning how structure makes a document more inclusive and by learning how to make images accessible.
  23. Learn some specific questions to ask vendors regarding accessibility and get sample University of Minnesota contract language in Inclusive IT Procurement.
  24. Learn about numerous Higher Ed Accessibility Lawsuits.
  25. Learn what campus information technology leaders have to say about the Worth of Accessibility.
  26. Check out the new University of Minnesota Web Accessibility Standard.
  27. Read about the new University of Minnesota Duluth Accessibility Task Force.
  28. Browse the University of Minnesota Duluth's Disability Resources Web Site and Library Services for Patrons with Disabilities.
  29. Subscribe to the Web Design Update newsletter. It is a plain text email digest, which is typically publish weekly. Accessibility is usually the first topic.
  30. Browse the Web Design Update archives:
    • Webdev Archives: (Volume 4, Issue 06, August 4, 2005 to date.)
    • First 162 Issues: (Volume 1, Issue 01, July 2002, through Volume 4, Issue 05, July 2005) and subsequent issues are available as text files.
  31. Visit the Web Design Reference site, a mega-reference (over 6,000 links) of information and articles about Web design and development. The majority of its specific accessibility info is listed at: