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Global Accessibility Awareness Day: beyond digital accessibility

It’s true that most of the events being planned to observe Global Accessibility Awareness Day are focused on digital accessibility. This is not because someone doesn’t like about other aspects. It is happening just due to most people who are involved or hosting GAAD are from technology background. There is no restriction to observe GAAD only in the area of digital space.

Here are a few ideas as to how GAAD can be observed in many other ways:

  1. Get your neighbours together and do analysis to see if your apartment / house / township is usable and accessible to people with disabilities and elderly. Is your elevator accessible to users with blindness? Is your common areas accessible to users with wheelchair? If you invite a guest with disability, can they stay with comfort at your house? Would you be able to help them using toilet?
  2. Go to nearby schools and have a conversation around how education is important and so is true for people with disabilities too. Most schools are reluctant to admit children with disabilities. Help them understand how technologies are evolved and come as aid to people with disabilities to learn science, maths, etc.,
  3. Visit nearby hospitals and do a talk about advancement life and technology and how they should advice when something cannot be cured with medical efforts.
  4. Talk to disability organizations around you and if needed, mentor them to understand real means of rehabilitation. I have seen scenarios where people at mid-age develops disability, they were asked to enrol for courses like chair caning, candle making etc., instead working towards putting them back into the area where client have worked for a long time. This needs to be changed.
  5. Talk to restaurants around you and help them to make their hotels and services accessible.

There would be many more ideas that one can look at.

Let’s think through!

Missing alternate text: GAAD count down!

To celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we will posting about common accessibility issues each day from today. Objective of this initiative is to let product owners know about how they are creating barriers to their users and how they can fix them. Let’s see how we could impact the world for this 6th edition of Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

To begin with, we will start with missing alternate text.

OK, what’s the alternate text anyway? Alternate text is information provided for as an alternative to images using <alt> attribute. Read our earlier post on “alt” – what, why, how and when? to learn more about alternate text.

We have tested a few websites from different segments and see how many of them are providing alternate text to images.

Government of India

  • Government of India Home page has one image without alternate text. Appears to be a subscribe button.
  • Supreme court of India home page has one image without alternate text. It’s a slider image
  • Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology also has a subscribe button similar to Government of India home page and this too does not have an alternate text
  • Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has two images without alternate text

Telecom Service Providers

  • Bharath Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has 3 images without alternate text
  • Airtel home page has alternate text for all images
  • MTNL home page one image without alternate text
  • Vodafone home page has alternate text for all images

E-commerce portals

  • Flipkart home page does not have alternate text for a few images
  • Amazon.in displays several shapes which does not have alternate text
  • Tata Cliq has one logo image without alternate text
  • Olx.in has alternate text for all images

Travel

  • Indian Railway Catering and Ticketing Corporation (IRCTC) has 11 images without alternate text
  • Abhibus home page has 2 images without alternate text
  • Yatra.com has 8 images without alternate text
  • Cleartrip home page has 14 images without alternate text

OK, can we campaign to have these websites (and others) learn and fix issues related to alternate text by 17th May, 2018 which is Global Accessibility Awareness Day?

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) – a recap of celebrations in India

Wow, this year’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) was bigger than ever before; so it is difficult for me to write full recap in one post; hence this post focuses on what has happened in India and next post will talk about events around the world.

My day started off with event at PayPal India. It’s great to have spoken at an office that I worked earlier. It’s amazing to see some of the initiatives that I have started at PayPal India like Accessibility session for new hires, Accessibility Showcase are continued. Phani, Director of Payment products welcomed the gathering; he has done a good research on accessibility for his talk. Then I spoke about Accessibility of Digital Payments. Then Nawaz Khan of PayPal spoke about JavaScript and Accessibility of other frameworks. Post that Prakash of PayPal has spoken about design for accessibility. Whole event was amazingly moderated by my good friend Shalini Subramanian of PayPal. It was great to meet a lot of old colleagues. Appreciciate PayPal for taking the momentum forward.

Then we have proceeded to NIMHANS Convention Centre to participate in Global Accessibility Awareness day hosted by Prakat Solutions, CIS and Mitra Jyothi sponsored by Informatica and a few others. Event started off with a developer workshop by Nawaz Khan of PayPal, followed by panel discussion around impact of accessible websites and apps, how organizations can play a role. Event has also seen a few cultural events, stories of people as how accessibility and technology ha played a role, event has concluded with a presentation from Sean Murphy on Accessibility at Cisco.

Other events took place in India were Aubergine Solutions Pvt Ltd of Ahmadabad has hosted a workshop on Basics of Web Accessibility. Deque India has hosted a GAAD event at Hyderabad in partnership with NASSCOM Foundation. Radio Udaan has hosted a panel discussion on accessibility that talked about not only digital things but also other areas. BarrierBreak has released a CSS Accessibility Checker.

Here is my playlist of Global Accessibility Awareness Day. If you know of any videos of GAAD, do bring it to my attention and I’ll add them to my playlist.

A quick accessibility review: Swiggy iOS App

Swiggy is an online portal using which one can order food from restaurants around and food will be delivered through their executive. When Madhu Singhal, Founder of Mitra Jyothi told me that she needs to use Swiggy but its app on iOS is not accessible using VoiceOver that prompted me do a quick accessibility review of Swiggy. Some of the observations are:

  • Bottom navigation tabs have no problem. works well with VoiceOver
  • Home button (at the top), area selector widget, favorites button do not have an accessible name
  • When swiping using gestures, offers widget is not accessible
  • Able to Select and open a restaurant
  • Able to read through the menu options
  • Buttons provided to add / remove an item from the menu list does not have label
  • Cart is completely inaccessible
  • Call button does not have accessible name

Though user is able to make a choice of options in mind, it just stops there and noway they can proceed with adding them to card and place an order.

Do refer to Mobile Accessibility Practices page to learn about building accessible mobile applications.

Schedule a call to get started with Digital Accessibility

Now-a-days, there is a positive momentum about accessibility and businesses would want to make their products accessible. But challenge for many is that they do not know where to start and how to go about.

To mark 6th edition of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, I have decided to spend sometime with people who would like to know about accessibility and start their journey into building accessible products. Through this month, one can schedule a call with me for 30 minutes to discuss brief about accessibility and how they can get started.

Once call is scheduled all you need to do is call on the provided number at the time that you have opted. In case I could not answer your call, I apologize in advance and I shall call you back at the earliest possible.

Should you have problem in scheduling, do Send me an email

Link again: Schedule a call

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2017 – Let's raise awareness about accessibility

6th edition of Global Accessibility Awareness Day will be observed on 18th May, 2017. As always, this is one such event that success of the event does not get measured by it’s size or format but by impact that event could create. Thanks to Prakat Solutions Inc.,, here is a quick video of my opening remarks about Global Accessibility Awareness Day that I spoke last year.

Some of the topics that could touch upon to raise awareness about are:

There are several events being planned. If you are hosting an event, do comment here with link to your event page.

Good luck,