Global accessibility awareness is a year-round cause at Captionmax, but Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is an important annual event on the third Thursday of May, bringing further attention to the fact that digital products need to be accessible to everyone, everywhere.
The History of Global Accessibility Awareness Day
“The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion, and the more than One Billion people with disabilities/impairments.”
Global Accessibility Awareness Day started as a simple blog post by web developer Joe Devon. Devon called for web developers to make websites accessible and raise awareness within their organizations and industries on the topic. Accessibility professional Jennison Asuncion discovered Devon’s blog post, and together they teamed up to bring the vision of this event into reality in 2012.
In 2021, the GAAD Foundation was founded to further the annual event’s initiatives year-round, which includes the #GAADPledge, an initiative that encourages all organizations to make a long-term commitment to accessibility as a core value within all digital products.
Why Digital Accessibility Matters
Making your digital products— especially media content— accessible goes beyond compliance with current media accessibility regulations and guidelines. These services help your business achieve key diversity and inclusion goals. Enable, engage, and empower all of your employees and customers to succeed by adding accessibility features to your content. These successes have tangible value for clients including higher employee productivity, lower turnover, proven ROI, and overall enhanced reputation (Accenture 2018).
How to Support GAAD via Digital Media Accessibility Services
Closed Captioning: Closed captions serve the D/deaf and hard of hearing audience, an estimated 48 million people in the United States alone. Worldwide, more than 360 million people experience disabling hearing loss, for whom captions are necessary to comprehend media (3Play Media, 2022). Captions have found an additional audience in recent years with the boom in digital and streaming services. According to a recent study, 80% of surveyed consumers reported to be more likely to watch a complete video if captions are available (Verizon Media and Publicis Media, 2019).
Transcription: Posting text transcripts alongside your videos provides you with a complete, searchable reference file that has the added benefit of being able to bolster SEO when posted to your website alongside a video. Search engines cannot easily crawl the content of a video, but adding a text transcript allows them to do so. This makes your content more accessible and leads to an increase in site traffic, expanding your message to an audience who may not have found your business otherwise.
Description: Audio description, descriptive text transcripts, and alt text/image descriptions create an immersive experience and make content accessible to the blind and low vision community. But description services help more than just this audience. Research out of the UK has revealed that neurodivergent audiences, including people on the autistic and ADHD spectrums, can also benefit from audio description by filling in context and increasing comprehension of messages (Garman 2011).
Localization: Multilanguage translations, subtitling, and dubbing services increase understanding of content on global level, across languages. Studies show that content subtitled or dubbed in an audience’s native language becomes more relevant and engaging, especially when it incorporates cultural terms and idioms. Ensuring your media is properly localized makes your message fully inclusive, accurate, and comprehensible, no matter where in the world it ends up.
This Global Accessibility Awareness Day, celebrate by thinking about how you can make your digital media more accessible to all audiences. Prioritize the addition of media accessibility features today by reaching out to our team at email@example.com!