Celebrating GAAD and Older Americans Month

by Adam Thiel, CPACC – Digital Accessibility Coordinator at Oklahoma ABLE Tech

Celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2024!

A line icon of the universal accessibility symbol.Join millions of people around the world in celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) on May 16, 2024! GAAD is a day all about raising awareness of digital accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities around the world. Since everything is becoming more reliant on digital technology, it’s more important than ever to make sure everyone, regardless of ability, can access and use digital content.

You can join the fun of GAAD by telling people about it, supporting accessibility, and making your own digital spaces more inclusive. Even just watching a video about digital accessibility can help spread the word. (Psst… Check out the TechAccess Oklahoma 2024 YouTube Playlist!)

Let’s work together to make the world a place where everyone can fully participate in the digital age!

To learn more about GAAD, visit accessibility.day.

 

Powerful Connections

May is Older Americans Month, and this year’s theme — Powered by Connection — recognizes the importance of maintaining meaningful relationships and social connections to improve health and well-being. This is especially true for older adults, who can often experience isolation, loneliness, and a loss of independence.

For many people, changes in their physical and mental capabilities are just a natural part of getting older. Vision, hearing, physical dexterity, and cognitive abilities often decline as we age. Technology can be a great tool to help counterbalance these changes, but only if people can use it! There is a lot of overlap between the barriers that the older adult and disability communities face when trying to access digital content. Because of this, making your digital spaces accessible for people with disabilities tends to also make them accessible for older people too.

With that in mind, here are some specific things to focus on while designing digital content for older adults:

Vision

  • Use high contrast color schemes. (Low vision, Color blindness)
  • Use simple fonts that are easy to read and choose a font size that is large enough to be easily read. (Low vision, Cognitive difficulties)

Hearing

  • Include captions and transcripts with any video content. (d/Deaf, Hard of hearing)
  • Avoid distracting background music or sounds in any video content, especially during dialogue. (Hard of hearing, Cognitive difficulties)

Physical

  • Make all interactive functions usable with a keyboard, as well as with a mouse. (Arthritis, Mobility difficulties)
  • Make all interactive functions easy to interact with by making them large enough. (Tremors, Dexterity difficulties)

Cognitive

  • Make content easy and logical to navigate, with clear instructions. (Confusion, Dementia)
  • Give people enough time to interact with content. (Memory difficulties, Mental processing difficulties)

 

For more information on digital accessibility, visit our Digital Accessibility Resources page, or contact us at abt.a11y@okstate.edu.