Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), and we are asking everybody to use this as an opportunity to reach out to iOS and OS X developers - to either encourage them to make their applications accessible and usable by the vision-impaired; or to show your appreciation for applications which already are.
GAAD was created as a mechanism to reach out to the people who “build, shape, fund and influence technology and its use”; raising awareness of both how and why they should be striving to ensure that technology is accessible to all its potential users. To learn more about GAAD, read the blog post by Joe Devon that inspired it.
Ilkka Pirttimaa, developer of Blindsquare GPS, has posted an article to mark GAAD in which he states that making your apps accessible is “just the right thing to do”. Elsewhere, AssistiveWare has written about Global Accessibility Awareness Day and Why it Matters.
We think that these posts (and the many other things being done to mark GAAD), are a great reminder that the accessibility problems we see in iOS and OS X applications won’t fix themselves. We need to be reaching out to developers to file accessibility bug reports. Politely letting them know how these bugs negatively impact upon our use of their applications, and giving them the information that will help to ensure that their applications can be made fully accessible by the vision-impaired.
Many developers are simply unaware of what needs to be done and where they can go to learn how to make their applications accessible and inclusive to all users. So, when reaching out, we cannot emphasise enough the need to provide as much information as possible. The developer needs to be able to replicate the problem for themselves and know what needs to be done to resolve that problem. In the case of the latter, we have a page here on AppleVis which provides links to many resources that developers may find helpful.
Of course, there are already many great and accessible applications which are used daily, and in many cases relied upon, by blind and low vision users. So, today also seems like a great opportunity to be sharing our appreciation with their developers.
We regularly hear from developers who take a great deal of inspiration and reward from hearing positive feedback on how their applications are being used by the vision-impaired. A recent article on Touch Arcade about blind gaming gave several examples of this.
So, do please take a moment today to show your appreciation to the developers of applications that you enjoy and rely on. A short email or mention on Twitter will go a long way to justify and acknowledge their time and commitment. If posting to Twitter, please be sure to include the hashtag #GAAD.
If you would like to share information on other events and activities being held to mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day, please let us know in the comments below.