REPORT: Accessibility SIG Global Accessibility Awareness Day Webinar

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On Thursday May 28 2020, the Internet Society Accessibility Special Interest Group (A11ySIG) hosted a webinar “When rhetoric meets reality: Digital Accessibility, Persons With Disabilities and COVID-19”. This webinar brought together digital accessibility experts and people with disabilities to discuss the digital accessibility outlook beyond COVID-19.


( VIEW LIVESTREAM | TRANSCRIPT )

It was our hope that this webinar would share and offer a variety of ideas from different disabilities and different parts of the world. Below are a couple of perspectives that relate to North America and elsewhere.

David Berman gave the keynote focusing on how governments can integrate accessibility into their web presence. He talked about the efforts that Canada and others are doing on accessibility issues. People in health care designed special masks for deaf people. They have a clear shield so people can read others lips to communicate. However, everyone benefits when we can see each other’s mouths when we’re wearing masks, whether we’re hard of hearing or whether we’re deaf and using sign language which of course the faces a key part of the communication, everyone finds it easier to understand each other when we can see the emotions and the movements that make up more of the face. It is an example of the overall goal that all should have. We need to design for the extremes and in this way benefit everyone. This principle is a core of the experience in design that we need to focus on. If we can make sure that all websites are accessible and follow WCAG guidelines than Governments will save money as they would not have to hire special firms to answer phone lines and have special lines that read people texts and walk people through the forms. People could self-serve. If we make sure everyone can self-serve, we’re actually able to save millions of dollars. This type of thinking, what we like to call the accessibility dividend when we do things to include everyone, we get benefits for everyone.

The webinar included seven panelists representing different disabilities and countries. The panelists highlighted a number of issues related to digital accessibility including: If an approach can work in one small community, it can be replicated in many other local, regional, and national governments. The right ingredients need to be in place. That’s policy, practice, and people. Formulating right policies with inclusion of people with disabilities and then practicing those with people centric approach could be a winning strategy. This is where rhetoric meets policy. Once people understand why digital accessibility is important through direct contact with persons with disabilities there’s a greater incentive to make a change. We need more disability awareness training.

Another speaker, Peter Crosbie, focused on cognitive disabilities and how they are often overlooked by companies who instead just focus on visual or hearing disabilities; there is often no mention anywhere of what specific cognitive access measures they have incorporated to help out people with cognitive disabilities. He mentioned that Zoom calls with many speakers and participants are in actuality very inaccessible for many people with cognitive disabilities. There’s just very little understanding of what cognitive access is or how it works.

The goal of Accessibility SIG in this webinar was to discuss and raise awareness of these issues. We will have six other webinars in this series, so stay tuned.

GAAD 2020 WEBINAR: When Rhetoric Meets Reality: Digital Accessibility, Persons With Disabilities, and COVID-19

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On Thursday May 28 2020, from 12:00-13:30 UTC, in celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, the Internet Society Accessibility Special Interest Group (A11ySIG) will host a webinar “When rhetoric meets reality: Digital Accessibility, Persons With Disabilities and COVID-19

This webinar brings together digital accessibility experts and people with disabilities to discuss the digital accessibility outlook beyond COVID-19. The webinar aims to share and offer a variety of ideas from different disabilities and different parts of the world.

AGENDA

Introduction: Muhammad Shabbir Awan, President, ISOC Accessibility SIG

Keynote: How governments can integrate accessibility into their web presences
David Berman, David Berman communications, Canada

Experience Sharing:
Naveed Haq, Regional Director Infrastructure and Connectivity, Asia Pacific, Internet Society
Gunela Astbrink, Vice President Accessibility SIG, Australia
Fernando Botelho, F123 initiative, Brazil
Judy Okite, founder, Association for Accessibility and Equality(AAFE), Kenya
Peter Crosbie, advocate for the autistic community, France
Lidia Best, Vice President, European Federation of Hard of Hearing, UK
Manique Gunaratne, Manager, Specialized Training and Disability Resource Centre, Sri Lanka

Open Discussion

Closing Remarks: Muhammad Shabbir Awan

PARTICIPATE VIA ZOOM: https://bit.ly/3bX0BM5

VIEW ON LIVESTREAM: http://livestream.com/internetsociety/gaad2020

REAL TIME TEXT: https://www.streamtext.net/player?event=CFI-A11YSIG

TWITTER: @A11ySIG + #GAAD2020

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2019 Webinar – “Digital Accessibility for Persons With Disabilities”

GAAD WebinarOn Thursday 16 May 2019 at 12:00 UTC the Internet Society Accessibility Special Interest Group (A11ySIG) marked Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2019 (GAAD) with its inaugural public webinar “Digital Accessibility for Persons With Disabilities“. A11ySIG founders and special guest Dan York of the Internet Society introduced the group and discussed this important aspect of the Internet Society’s vision that the Internet is for everyone.

WATCH ON LIVESTREAM: https://livestream.com/internetsociety/isocgaad2019

AGENDA

Welcome and Introduction: Mr. Muhammad Shabbir Awan, President, A11ySIG

Historic Context of Accessibility SIG: Mr. Joly MacFie, AMS Admin A11ySIG

Women and Digital Accessibility: Ms. Gunela Astbrink, Vice President, A11ySIG

Digital Accessibility and Internet Society: Mr. Dan York, Director of Web Strategy, Internet Society

Accessibility between Policy and Practice: Ms. Judith Hellerstein, Secretary, A11ySIG

Interactive Discussion / Q&A session

Vote of Thanks and Wrap up: Mr. Muhammad Shabbir Awan, President, A11ySIG

TWITTER: @a11ysig + #gaad https://bit.ly/a11ysiggaad

ABOUT INTERNET SOCIETY ACCESSIBILITY SIG
The Internet Society Accessibility Special Interest Group (A11ySIG) is dedicated to ensuring equal access to the Internet and its benefits to all regardless of disability.
http://a11ysig.org

ABOUT GLOBAL ACCESSIBILITY AWARENESS DAY
May 16 2019 marks the eighth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) access/inclusion and people with different disabilities. https://globalaccessibilityawarenessday.org/

ABOUT THE INTERNET SOCIETY
The Internet Society supports and promotes the development of the Internet as a global technical infrastructure, a resource to enrich people’s lives, and a force for good in society.
https://www.internetsociety.org