Over the last few years, we at QA InfoTech, have been observing GAAD – Global Accessibility Awareness Day, annually every May. While we make it a conscious effort to observe GAAD all through the year and sensitize the need for Digital Accessibility both within the organization and in the society we largely operate within, the annual GAAD event has been special – right from talks, to special booths, to free workshops for PwDs on software testing etc.
This year, 2020, we wanted to make the event extra special and memorable, given the global pandemic, which has thrown a lot of light on the need for digital accessibility and has enabled organizations move into the path of both physical and digital accessibility, given that everyone is challenged today.
Given this unprecedented scenario, we wanted global representation on this topic of “Digital Accessibility – A Real Need of the Day” and the best way to achieve this was through a panel discussion. As advertised previously, we had a very excited set of panellists that immediately signed up to join us on this event, right from digital subject matter experts, to governmental policy advocates, sport personalities, real users that are PwDs etc. It was a very exciting and packed one hour discussion with the 6 panelists (and 1 that joined us in absentia through a video recording), touching upon a range of questions – including impact of COVID-19 on real users, tips and experiences on where to start to embrace digital accessibility, how large scale app roll outs (including ones such as Aarogya Setu taken up by Govt. of India) can reliably accommodate accessibility upfront, innovation in the coming days, and an overall take on the present and future of Digital Accessibility. A number of questions were also taken in from the attendees touching on PwD statistics, engineering spend on accessibility to name a few. This session is a start in bringing together global subject matter experts as we all work together to make digital accessibility a global reality – it is not a need of just our friends with disabilities. It is time to understand, accept and implement digital accessibility as a true need of the hour for one and all. The entire panel discussion’s recording is available here.
- Dr. Anjlee Agarwal, National Awardee, 2003, Accessibility, Mobility and WASH Specialist, Samarthyam, Co-Founder & Executive Director
- Manasi Joshi, Para Badminton Player, National Award for Best Sportsperson with Disability (Female), 2019
- Kurt Gerdenich, CTO, Vista Higher Learning
- Dennis Quon, Director Document Accessibility Solutions, Crawford Technologies
- Deb Castiglione, Former Director, Universal Design & Accessibility, Cengage
- Rajini Padmanaban, Vice President, Global Testing Services, QA InfoTech
- Ankush Garg, CPWA, Accessibility Expert and Low Vision User, QA InfoTech
- Chris Morgan – President, WeBuildLearning