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Embracing Global Accessibility Awareness Day: A Call to Action for Inclusive Web Design

Happy Global Accessibility Awareness Day!

As people leaders, managers, employers, and key business stakeholders, today is an important reminder of our collective responsibility to ensure our digital spaces are accessible to everyone. As a leading Canadian Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging firm, Global Learning believes in creating inclusive environments that cater to the needs of all individuals.

Did you know that 27% of Canadians live with some form of disability? Let's shed light on the significance of web accessibility, take a look at some practical tips, and fill you in on how Global Learning can best assist you with your organization's web accessibility needs!

About Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) was launched in 2012 to promote digital accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities. With over 1 billion people globally living with disabilities, ensuring our digital content is accessible is not just a legal obligation but a moral imperative. Accessibility means more than just compliance; it’s about creating a seamless and equitable online experience for everyone, regardless of their abilities.

Understanding Accessibility

Web accessibility entails designing and developing websites, tools, and technologies to be usable by everyone, including people with disabilities. This involves providing text alternatives for images, ensuring full keyboard navigability, and effectively using color contrast. These practices help create an inclusive digital environment where all users can interact equally. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 15% of the global population experiences some form of disability, underscoring the importance of web accessibility as a fundamental aspect of web design to ensure inclusivity and equal access for all.

Legal Requirements and Standards

In Canada, the Accessible Canada Act (ACA) and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) set the standards for web accessibility. Starting in 2025, compliance with these standards will become mandatory for federally regulated entities. These entities, which include federal government departments, large private businesses, and sectors like banking and telecommunications, must identify, remove, and prevent accessibility barriers proactively. Failing to meet these requirements can result in legal consequences and damage to an organization's reputation. By adhering to these standards, organizations not only comply with legal obligations but also contribute to creating a more inclusive digital environment for all users.

Business Benefits

Improving website accessibility offers benefits that extend beyond mere legal compliance. Accessible websites reach a broader audience, significantly enhancing the user experience for individuals with disabilities. This inclusivity can lead to better search engine optimization (SEO) outcomes, as accessible websites often perform better in search rankings due to improved usability and content clarity. Moreover, research indicates that accessible websites achieve higher conversion rates and lower bounce rates, as users can navigate and engage with the content more effectively. By prioritizing accessibility, organizations not only foster inclusivity but also drive substantial business growth by improving overall user satisfaction and expanding their customer base.

Practical Tips for Enhancing Web Accessibility
Conduct a Website Accessibility Audit

The first step towards accessibility is understanding where your website stands. At Global Learning, we offer comprehensive website accessibility audits that provide detailed reports on areas for improvement and compliance with Canadian and US standards.

Implement Accessible Design Practices
  • Use Semantic HTML: Proper use of HTML elements helps screen readers understand and navigate content.

  • Provide Text Alternatives: Ensure all non-text content has text alternatives, such as alt text for images.

  • Ensure Keyboard Accessibility: Make sure all interactive elements can be accessed via keyboard alone.

  • Maintain Color Contrast: Use sufficient color contrast between text and background to enhance readability.

Global Learning’s Commitment to Accessibility

At Global Learning, we are committed to guiding our clients toward achieving comprehensive web accessibility compliance. Our suite of services includes thorough website audits and detailed reports that highlight areas for improvement, ensuring adherence to both Canadian and US standards. Additionally, our cutting-edge AI-powered plugin streamlines the compliance process, making it easier than ever to meet the upcoming 2025 accessibility requirements. By partnering with us, you can create digital spaces that are inclusive, compliant, and welcoming to all users, including colleagues and clients. Together, we can build a more accessible online environment for everyone.

Leverage AI-powered Accessibility Tools

To streamline the process, consider using our new AI-powered website plugin, currently installed right here on our own site for you to explore. Access to this innovative tool will automatically bring any website up to accessibility compliance standards, ensuring you organizations website meets the mandatory requirements set to take effect in 2025. By integrating our plugin, you can effortlessly enhance your website's accessibility and provide a more inclusive experience for all users.

As we observe Global Accessibility Awareness Day, let's commit to making our digital environments accessible to everyone. By understanding the importance of web accessibility, implementing practical strategies, and leveraging the right tools, we can create inclusive and engaging online experiences for all users.

Ready to take the next step towards web accessibility? Contact Global Learning today to schedule a consultation with one of our representatives to discuss your website audit, our new accessibility plugin, and let’s work together to build a more inclusive digital community.


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