fun gaad

Accessibility Daze — a GAAD rap song

Fun! Accessibility Daze — a GAAD (Global Accessibility Awareness Day) rap song via YouTube. A transcription is inline below.


GAAD’s the celebration, this year a musical potion. Sight, sound, touch for all a sonic solution. AWOL, Coop, y’all ready to set it in motion? Yeah.

We come from many places with different biologies to celebrate GAAD and accessible technologies. Why we do what we do, it isn’t a mystery. You just have to go back in time and learn a bit of history.

It started way back in 2011 with nothing more than a blog post by Joe Devon. He was ashamed by devs’ lack of inclusivity, so he suggested we raise awareness of accessibility. Joe’s idea, it was really quite simple. On this day, the idea, it would ripple. Jennison saw the post and had a revelation to help Joe form a foundation, ain’t that amazing? Yeah.

Give them a standing ovation, they made it happen. Bring attention to tech exclusion, that’s why we’re rappin’. Digital access for all is our mission, so bring us your attention, show you how to make a difference. Get ’em.

One in six people on Earth have disabilities. It’s not a lie, the largest minority unequivocally. When sites and apps aren’t built to be accessible the experience is tough, and we need to be more flexible. Visual, auditory, motor, even cognitive, 1.3 billion, all the same, no one’s prerogative. GAAD is the first step to clear the haze. We’re here to pave the way through accessibility days.

Did you know that most sites and apps, they ain’t accessible? The worst part is most bugs are easily addressable. We can’t be followers. No, we got to be the leaders. Alt text on images enabling screen readers. Closed captions available when you play a video. Accessible content should be nothing more than trivial. Motor disabilities can make it impossible to interact with sites when navigation’s illogical.

Maybe with AI, we can open a eye to UI that’s usable without batting a eye. Whether they can’t use their eyes, ears, or any other senses, enable your websites. Don’t put up any fences. I said “screen reader” before, but let me rewind. It helps the dyslexic and others, not just the blind.

We can all make a difference all of the time. Don’t call me crazy. Just design your app to meet the W-C-A-G.

SPEAKER: Find out how to get involved. Visit Glad to be GAAD — Global Accessibility Awareness Day.



Reading List May 2023

Recommended resources on web accessibility from over the last several months:

code css

We Don’t Need A Native .visually-hidden

Some web professionals say that The Web Needs a Native .visually-hidden. I respectfully disagree, particularly as a matter of priority.

A visually-hidden CSS class, as it’s often named, is used to visually hide textual content from sighted users but expose it to screen reader users. This is a common practice in web development, too common in my opinion. Another name for the class you’ll come across is “sr-only” (which I believe stemmed from Bootstrap but was modified in version 5). The properties of the class are complex and implemented in different ways.

So technically, this may be true—a native HTML attribute for the same functionality would be somewhat useful. But it’s not anywhere near the importance of other, more foundational needs. My point is that, in the big picture, a native visually-hidden should be much, much lower on the priority list. So low that it’s a bit discouraging to hear folks requesting it.

What the web really, greatly needs is the following:

  • Web developers who practice semantic HTML.
  • Designers who don’t want to customize every single UI element.
  • VPs who prioritize usability and accessibility.
  • Designers and VPs who prioritize usability and accessibility over the latest visual design trends (which most of the time cause accessibility problems).
  • A lot less adverts, pop-ups, notifications, and other UI shyte.

These fundamental needs will go tremendously further for usability and accessibility than any HTML attribute, ARIA attribute, automated testing tool, Figma plugin, etc.

Also, as web professionals, we don’t want to encourage the use of visually hidden text but discourage the use — in favor of universal design, creating the same design and experience for all users. This will also save a lot of time and hassle during the SDLC.

Further reading:

event roundup

Upcoming Accessibility Events (2023)

Mark your calendar! Here are some terrific digital accessibility events coming up in 2023. Please add any good ones that I missed in the comments.

Also, check out my Twitter list of accessibility meetup groups around the world.

calendar icon says upcoming events

disability roundup

Stock photos of people with disabilities

Slightly off topic, but if you’re seeking a stock photo including people with a disability, here is a list of resources. Please submit a comment if you know of any others!

  • Pixabay (disability search) – free images & royalty free stock.
  • Disability Inclusive Stock Photography – Disability:IN is pleased to offer disability inclusive stock photography to the public. In an effort to empower business to achieve disability inclusion and equality, we encourage corporations to use this in recruitment material, marketing material, internal and external communications, etc. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
  • Pexels (disability search) Free Disability Photos.
  • Disabled And Here Collection – This stock library is a disability-led effort to provide free and inclusive images from our own perspective, with photos and illustrations celebrating disabled Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC).
  • DisabilityImages – Nice photos but requires payment. Disability Images was acquired by Design Pics Inc. in July of 2019. After building this unique collection depicting authentic persons with real disabilities over the past many years, the previous owners elected to have Disability Images become part the Design Pics family of brands. This transition allows for continued service to the valued clients who have come to rely on this collection to serve their specific image requirements.
  • PhotoAbility – Nice photos but requires payment. Stock Image Library featuring individuals with disabilities in Travel, Leisure and Lifestyle settings.
  • The Disability Illustration Pack – by Black Illustrations, $18 at time of publishing
  • SocietyPix / (added from comments) – their vision is to “expand the photo collection to show members of other marginalized communities in non-stereotypical ways”. They are free to use for editorial purposes and for a small fee for others.
  • Added: Americans with Disabilities – Home Safety Best Practices – a set of royalty-free stock photos

woman in wheelchair sitting at desk with computer, smiling, and waving