Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2018

Close-up picture of a computer keyboard and a person's hands hovering over the keysGlobal Accessibility Awareness Day, which we celebrate this year on May 17, is an annual celebration and reminder of how products, services and environments are accessible to people with disabilities. Over the past year, GSA has made it our mission to transform the way we approach accessible IT in the Federal government.

It’s been an exciting year in the federal accessibility space, starting with the Revised 508 Standards, which officially went into effect in January 2018. The new standards will help agencies:

  • Enhance accessibility;
  • Make requirements and standards easier to understand and follow;
  • Update requirements and standards to account for changing technology; and
  • Harmonize requirements with other standards in the U.S. and abroad.

Our team also launched an initiative to adopt universal design as the preferred approach to accessible IT. Universal design (UD) is a concept in which products and environments are designed to be usable by all people without the need for adaptation or specialized design. To deliver truly accessible solutions, agencies should address UD in the procurement and/or development process, to deliver solutions that meet the usability needs of all customers. As part of this work, we’re working with stakeholders across both the Federal government, and the technology sector, to promote UD and incorporate it into the design, development and implementation of new Federal IT products.

Accessibility is important to people of all ages, backgrounds, education and economic levels. Nearly 1 in 8 people in the U.S. have a disability, underscoring how important it is for government and industry to create products and services accessible to all.

With the Revised 508 Standards and the UD approach to accessibility, we hope to simplify accessibility and shed light on its benefits for everyone. On Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we’re proud to partner with agencies across the Federal government to champion accessibility for all. How are you tackling accessibility at your organization? Share your accomplishments and tips on social media with the hashtag #gaad.

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Global Accessibility Awareness Day grew from a 2011 blog post and evolved into a day recognized annually around the world. This day is dedicated to increasing awareness of digital accessibility to the broadest audience possible.