Global Accessibility Awareness Day is a good reminder of the importance of digital accessibility


May 16 is the 13th annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). At UT Health San Antonio, this day is an important reminder that digital accessibility benefits many people in our community.

According to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four people live with one or more disabilities. Many of those disabilities may be invisible or undisclosed, so people may not know the barriers faced by their co-workers, students, patients and neighbors.

Many of the people that UT Health San Antonio serves are even more likely to experience disability. People with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disease are more likely to be living with a disability. Military veterans in the community also experience disability at higher rates. In addition, as the population ages, people are more likely to acquire disabilities or develop progressive disabilities.

To succeed in its missions and uphold its values, UT Health San Antonio must make sure its online workplaces and service points offer equal access to people who are blind, have low vision, are colorblind, are d/Deaf or hard of hearing, have cognitive disabilities, speech disabilities, seizures, mobility disabilities or other disabilities.

UT Health San Antonio invests in buildings and spaces that are accessible to all. As more and more of the institution’s services are offered online, the institution must ensure the same is true of its websites, mobile apps, software, learning materials and communications.

When accessibility is taken into account when planning, purchasing, designing, developing and deploying digital content or technology, everyone in the community benefits.

Closed captions, for example, were developed for people who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing, but they also benefit people with cognitive disabilities or those in noisy surroundings. Likewise, making sure reading material is accessible to blind people using screen readers also supports sighted people with dyslexia, or those who want to listen to material while they drive, jog or cook dinner. In short: Digital accessibility is essential for some and useful for all.

Early adoption of digital accessibility can reap future benefits

Everyone has a role to play in improving accessibility. The earlier the university community works accessibility into its digital materials or tools, the less remediation is needed later. There are simple steps the university community can take to ensure that emails, slide decks, documents, meetings, lectures and other digital materials are accessible. Mostly, it’s about taking the time to think with empathy about how other people will use those materials.

Follow these steps to improve digital accessibility

UT Health San Antonio has resources to help its community get started with those simple steps. First, take a look at the “Digital Accessibility 101” articles in the TeamDynamix Knowledge Base. There are currently  three there now, and more coming soon. Beyond that, there are many opportunities to learn more about digital accessibility through the institution’s  Accessibility Learning Paths, which include free courses from sources like Percipio, LinkedIn Learning and Access Academy, a learning platform available free of charge for State of Texas employees.

Contact for accessibility issues

Finally, any university community member who knows of someone who has encountered barriers or difficulties with UT Health San Antonio technology platforms, can contact so that the institution  can learn from that experience and work to make the environment better for everyone. Likewise, those with questions or those who would like to learn more about opportunities to advance digital accessibility at UT Health San Antonio can contact

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