Accessible Technology

May 18, 2020

Global Accessibility Awareness Day and a UW-Wide Challenge

Terrill Thompson

This week, on Thursday May 21, the entire world will be celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). This day was established nine years ago to engage people around the world in talking, thinking, and learning about digital access and inclusion. At the University of Washington, we have an annual tradition of hosting lectures, trainings, workshops, and tours of the Access Technology Center, as well as other events on this day.

GAAD 2020 is no exception, but it’s unique. Given our current situation, teaching and working from home due to a global pandemic, all GAAD events will be offered remotely via Zoom. Nevertheless, we have a full day planned, from 9:00am to 4:00pm, with six talks and trainings on various aspects of digital accessibility. All events are open to everyone in the UW Community (a UW NetID is required for admission). All sessions will include live captioning and American Sign Language interpreting. The full agenda is available on our Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2020 web page.

Another thing that’s unique about GAAD 2020 is that its timing coincides with the IT Accessibility Challenge 2020, a university-wide campaign that just launched, encouraging members of the UW community to take one or more simple actions to help make websites, online courses, digital documents, and videos more accessible to individuals with disabilities. There are 20 simple actions to choose from, and they can all be easily performed from home.

The photo below captures the spirit of both GAAD and the IT Accessibility Challenge, people working together (in this case, students) with a poster hanging in the background that reads:

  • Have fun
  • Take chances
  • Open mind to others’ ideas
  • Encourage each other

Please Take the Challenge! Then, attend some or all of the GAAD trainings to help get started with your Challenge tasks. I hope to see everyone at one or more GAAD events on Thursday!

Four students gathered around a computer