Post contributed by Ira King, Librarian for Disability Studies, and Ciara Healy, Librarian for Psychology & Neuroscience, Mathematics, and Physics.
Happy Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)!
May 18th marks the 12th annual celebration of GAAD. This day serves to raise awareness of the need for digital inclusion and accessible web content for people with disabilities.
Why does web accessibility matter? People with disabilities have a right to access and enjoy web content and digital objects. Based on data from the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.3 billion people have disabilities, or 1 in 6 people worldwide. According to a WebAIM report from February 2023, 96.3% of the top million homepages on the Internet had accessibility errors based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. The most common accessibility error is low contrast text. Other common errors include missing alternative text for images, empty links, and improperly structured headings (very important for people using screen-readers). Ensuring web pages are accessible makes the Internet a more equitable and inclusive space.
How can you ensure your web content is accessible? Duke’s Web Accessibility page is a good starting point. Useful info on this webpage includes Duke’s Web Accessibility Guidelines, How-to pages for creating different types of accessible content, and a list of training sessions on web accessibility. Zeke Graves, a Web Experience Developer at Duke Libraries, wrote a Quick Start Guide to Web Accessibility at Duke Libraries and Beyond that could also be helpful for those starting out in this area.
Another expanding area of accessibility and digital inclusion is in video games. You may have watched the HBO adaptation of The Last of Us, but did you know that The Last of Us Part II’s release in 2020 was a landmark moment for accessibility in gaming? Organizations like AbleGamers and websites like Can I Play That? are advocating for a more inclusive gaming landscape. Game developers have also created a list of Game Accessibility Guidelines to make games more accessible for those with disabilities. If you are interested in this topic and want to learn more about accessibility and disability representation in gaming, you may want to check out the 2023 book Gaming Disability: Disability Perspectives on Contemporary Video Games.
If you’re around Duke’s campus right now, you can stop by Perkins and Lilly to see the Disability Pride Collection Spotlights.