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Raising awareness on accessibility

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is celebrating it’s 20th year in 2024, but many of us are only just starting to hear about this day and more importantly, what it stands for.
 
As a disabled person in the workplace, accessibility is important to me – not only for my everyday tasks, but for the things other people don’t even think of like how accessible a role is to apply to or interview for. There are 1 billion people in the world with a type of disability, and every one experiences their own disability in a different way, will have different needs and find different barriers that could get in their way. But if you don’t have a disability, it’s hard to see those barriers – a lot of people just think of ramps or elevators as things that are needed for accessibility but with how much of our lives take place online now, our digital lives need to be accessible too; so here’s a few of the things people have often told me they didn’t realise were inaccessible.
 

Phone calls

It’s so important to have options for contacting people – a lot of us struggle with the phone whether that’s due to mental or physical barriers but a lot of places still insist on phone calls as their only form of contact. Having emails, contact forms or live chat options ensures people have a variety of methods and one will likely be possible.
 

Websites

There’s no excuse in 2024 for a website not to have accessible tools installed – it can be simple features like changing the colours, contrast and sizes, or making sure your website is compatible with screen readers so people with sight or reading problems can still get to the information. Websites can be overwhelming, difficult to read, or even painful to look through if they’re not build with accessibility in mind.
 

Video Games

So many people don’t think of things like video games as inaccessible – and whilst they aren’t a critical part of life, not having access to things we enjoy is terrible for your wellbeing so it’s important that we make non-essentials available to people with access needs too. Someone might not be playing a game on easy because they’re bad at it, but it could be because they can’t press the controller buttons quick enough, or they can’t hold the controller in the right way. Several games now have accessibility menus and it’s been amazing to see the options developers are including now.
 
Finally, it’s important to remember that an accessible world includes everyone and excludes nobody. A wheelchair user can’t use the stairs, but everyone can use a ramp – so when in doubt, choose the accessible option.

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