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Save the Date! - Global Accessibility Awareness Day

The Global Accessibility Awareness Day logo. GAAD in blue letters against a white background in side of a blue circle with a blue keyboard at the lower right.

Each year on the third Thursday of May, we celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). But how did GAAD begin? Who started it? What’s GAAD really all about? 

GAAD "started" on Sunday, November 27, 2011, when Joe Devon penned a post on challenging his fellow back-end programmers to increase their knowledge about accessibility. "Let’s work together and fix this oversight in our knowledge." See Joe Devon’s post here .

Then a completely random event occurred. An accessibility professional in Toronto, Jennison Asuncion, came across a tweet from Devon:

screen capture of the tweet sent to Joe Devon from Jennison Asuncion. It says: I plan to tweet re your blog post tomorrow, but wanted to let you know I'm all over your idea of Global Accessibility Day

And voila! The two men joined forces using their respective influence in the industry, and the first Global Accessibility Awareness Day was born.

Who Are These Guys?

Devon has been nurturing the technology landscape in LA since2008. He is co-founder of Diamond, an agency specializing in "scalable, accessible, and high-performance web and mobile applications" as well as Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). 

"Accessibility is personal. It’s personal for me and it’s personal for billions, and sooner or later it will hit everyone," Joe said at an online event celebrating the ninth GAAD. "Please learn about accessibility for your future self, for your loved ones, and for your fellow human." 1

Asuncion is Head of Accessibility (A11Y) Engineering Evangelism @ LinkedIn He spent seven years at the Royal Bank of Canada’s IT Accessibility Team and joined LinkedIn in 2013. Asuncion founded Accessibility Camp Toronto in 2011 and Accessibility Camp Bay Area in 2014. He co-founded the Boston Accessibility Unconference in 2010 and Accessibility Camp Los Angeles in 2012.  

Among his recognitions, Asuncion was honored by the Royal Bank of Canada and the Government of Canada with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, and by the American Foundation for the Blind with the 2018 Stephen Garff Marriott Award.

Be Part of the Conversation

So, what can you do to help spread the word about accessibility? Try learning a new tool like VoiceOver or NVDA screen readers. Learn the Web Contact Accessibility Guidelines. Research and keep up on current legal cases around digital accessibility. Go "mouseless" for an hour and navigate your favorite website using only the keyboard. Post on your favorite social media outlet the importance of designing with accessibility in mind. Create an event, attend an event and conduct an automated accessibility scan with a tool like DubBot ... bet you’ll be surprised!

Here are some other ways to start spreading the word about accessibility:

There are so many ways to celebrate GAAD and ways to create and spread awareness of accessibility. Above all, keep talking about it, keep thinking about it, keep learning about it, and keep creating digital access, opportunity and inclusion.


Maggie Vaughan, CPACC
Content Marketing Practitioner