Global Accessibility Awareness Day

17 May 2021 by Charlotte Weston

Thursday 20th May is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about digital access and inclusion for the more than one billion people with disabilities/impairments.Here at Catalyst we take digital accessibility seriously, embedding it into our development services from the beginning.

Web accessibility helps people with disabilities to perceive, understand, navigate, interact with, and contribute to the web. It is also a characteristic of a good website and is easy to implement with the proper knowledge and tools. Catalyst is the first supplier in New Zealand to be approved by the Department of Internal Affairs on the New Zealand Marketplace for Web Accessibility.

Catalyst IT event

Catalyst New Zealand’s Accessibility Team is organising an event on Global Accessibility Awareness Day for staff at Catalyst to raise awareness of and empathy for different types of disabilities. The local drop-in activities will include navigating a screen reader while blindfolded, folding origami with an arm in a sling, and filling in a transcript for a video on low volume/mute.

While it’s not possible to fully simulate the struggles of those belonging to the disabled and chronically ill communities, the interactive games will attempt to show how frustrating it can be to access regular daily activities when you are impaired in some way.

Tips for making your workplace more accessible 

Here are some of our key recommendations for a disability-friendly workplace:

  • Push your chairs in to the tables in kitchens, meeting rooms and at your desks. These are a hazard for everyone, but in particular those who have low vision or are visually impaired.
  • Be mindful when walking in and out of doors and lifts; walking towards people can be intimidating as some people are unable to get out of your way.
  • Try not to rely on visual cues when communicating with others.
  • Likewise, don’t rely solely on spoken cues.
  • Speak as clearly as possible.
  • Accessibility is a process, not a project. Embed accessibility practices at the beginning of your projects to be the most resource and cost effective
  • Above all, be kind and considerate. Many people have hidden disabilities and/or chronic illnesses.

IT Services to improve the accessibility of your technology

If you’d like to discuss how the technical team at Catalyst can help, get in touch.