Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2013

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Global Accessibility Awareness Day logoToday is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (#GAAD), and there are programs taking place all around the world from Bangalore, India to Washington, DC. The purpose of the day is to get people talking, thinking and learning about digital accessibility and users with different disabilities.

GAAD is the brainchild of Joe Devon, a Los Angeles based technologist and entrepreneur. Devon says, “The target audience of GAAD is the design, development, usability, and related communities who build, shape, fund and influence technology and its use. While people may be interested in the topic of making technology accessible and usable by persons with disabilities, the reality is that they often do not know how or where to start. Awareness comes first.”

Last year, I wrote a piece about the inaugural Global Accessibility Awareness Day (#GAAD), and the strong connections between Semantic Web and Assistive Technology. Or rather, I posited that there were connections that were inherent, but not being maximized, or even explored.

One year later, I’m very pleased to report that things are progressing! There are now formal efforts to connect Semantic and Assistive Technologies.

Last month, the A11Y Metadata Project submitted a proposal to The proposal is a draft specification for accessibility metadata, and is designed to complement the work of the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (our coverage of LRMI here).

The proposal includes terms such as “mediaFeature” which is used to denote “Accessible content features included with the resource.” Examples of such features are:

  • alternativeText
  • audioDescription
  • braille
  • captions
  • ChemML
  • haptic
  • highContrast
  • largePrint
  • latex
  • longDescription
  • MathML
  • nemethBraille
  • signLanguage
  • tactileGraphics
  • transcript

I encourage readers to check out the latest version of the Accessibility Metadata draft proposal and the A11y Metadata Project website which has the specification as well as examples. I also hope you will take note of GAAD by participating in one of the face-to-face activities and/or supporting one of the other GAAD activities.

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