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  • Kristin Fleschner

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)

It's Global Accessibility Awareness Day! Take time to think about how accessibility impacts our lives. There have been improvements globally In accommodating and tech accessibility due to the pandemic, and we will continue to learn from this experience.

PD: Zoe and Tai Tomasi’s guide dog, Lava, are sitting side by side. Lava is a cute black lab. Both dogs are smiling happily, and one of Zoe’s ears is flipped inside out from playing.
Zoe and Tai Tomasi’s guide dog, Lava, are sitting side by side. Lava is a cute black lab. Both dogs are smiling happily, and one of Zoe’s ears is flipped inside out from playing.

Here are some tips from Kristin and our friend and fellow attorney and advocate, Tai Tomasi on making sure Zoom meetings and other online communication is accessible to everyone.



ZOOM/ONLINE MEETING SOFTWARE

Prior to setting up meetings using video software, research the platform you intend to use and find out how to optimize accessibility. If the software developer has not published anything about the platform, inquire about its accessibility. If you can't get any information about whether it is accessible, consider using a platform that is known to be accessible.

In Zoom meetings, real-time captioning services are important for deaf attendees, as Zoom captions are insufficient. A captioner should provide a separate link to allow the captioned text to be easily accessed.

There also needs to be a split-screen format showing the speaker and a sign language interpreter so both can be seen well. However, this may require deaf attendees to turn off the Zoom chat feature to free up space on the screen. When facilitating online meetings, it is important to describe any items you are showing on the screen, as screen shares are not accessible to blind and visually impaired attendees.

If a presenter intends to share a document via screen share, they need to send the document directly to blind and visually impaired attendees, as they may not be able to access it via screen share.

When in Zoom meetings, it is important for people to say their names before speaking so that blind attendees know who is presenting.

Zoom publishes a list of shortcut keys which make it accessible to people who use screen readers

The current situation can be empowering for many people with disabilities who now have a much easier time attending multiple meetings that are typically held in inaccessible buildings or locations that are difficult to access using public transportation.

Accessible software increases remote work opportunities for people with disabilities worldwide but, many companies are still using and building their software without accessibility in mind, which excludes their employees with disabilities.



FILES

If you are attaching files, like a PDF, you can run an accessibility check to see if it is accessible.



ADD ALT TEXT TO IMAGES

Adding a descriptive text alternative (or alt text) to non-text content like images is critical to creating accessible digital content. ALT text descriptions are available to people using assistive technologies like screen readers. You may have to enable to the ALT Text feature, and then you will be able to add text descriptions.


Here is more information on how to use the ALT TEXT feature on:

Creating great alt text is a lot like writing a historical novel, you have a lot of licensing, but you still need to be accurate and helpful.


Some posts (like ours) include the descriptions in the actual main text of the posts, so that people not using screen readers can access the descriptions as well. Many people in the blind community prefer this option because it raises awareness about the need for descriptions to the sighted community.



#CamelHashtags

Hashtags are designed to help people more easily share and find relevant content based on a particular topic. Capitalize the first letter of each word. This is called camel backing and improves the ability for people and assistive technology to understand where one word ends and another begins because screen readers read capital leaders in a different intonation.



Do you have any additional tips you want to share? What changes in the last few months in your work or personal life do you think should stay?


Learn more about:


#ZoesPack #SeeingZoe #GAAD #accessibility #a11y

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