More than one billion people in the world live with a disability. While technology is frequently a tool of empowerment, for many people with disability it can be a hinderance that prevents them from having equal access to information, education, employment, and services.
Even if you don’t have a long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment, it’s likely you know someone who does. Accessibility is essential to provide equal access and dignity for people living with disability, and results in content and services that are inclusive for everyone.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) falls on the 3rd Thursday of May and is a day to raise awareness about digital access and inclusion. 11 years ago when the first GAAD event was held creating accessible web pages and documents was a lot of work and required specialist knowledge. While there is still a long way to go, it has never been easier.
To celebrate GAAD, take the opportunity to learn more about the importance of accessibility, how to create accessible experiences and how everyone can benefit from accessibility.
Learn about accessibility
There are lots of options to suit your learning style. Check out these free resources and events.
- Find GAAD events in your area: Global Accessibility Awareness Day (accessibility.day)
- Take a quick course: Accessibility fundamentals – Learn | Microsoft Docs
- Explore Microsoft’s accessibility and inclusion technology: Microsoft Accessibility
- Get help and support with Microsoft accessibility: Accessibility help & learning
- Attend an Australian based Accessibility conference: A11y Bytes 2022 – A11y Bytes
- Watch Microsoft’s Ability Summit on demand: Microsoft Ability Summit 2022
Create accessible experiences and make it better for everyone
With over one billion people in the world living with a disability it’s likely that you work with someone who does, and we don’t all wear a sign. The best way to help people with disabilities is to build accessibility into your every day work practices.
- Content: Make your content accessible to everyone
- Templates: Get accessible templates for Office
- Office Apps: Check accessibility while you work in Office apps
- Accessibility Checker: Improve accessibility with the Accessibility Checker
Learn about the simple ways you can make your documents, content, notes and meetings accessible for people with disabilities.
- Outlook: Make your Outlook email accessible to people with disabilities
- Word: Make your Word documents accessible to people with disabilities
- Excel: Make your Excel documents accessible to people with disabilities
- Microsoft Teams: Make your Microsoft Teams meetings, calls, and messages accessible to people with disabilities
- PowerPoint: Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities
- SharePoint: Accessibility features in SharePoint Online
- OneNote: Make your OneNote notebooks accessible to people with disabilities
Turn on accessibility features to improve your own digital experience
I have a bunch of favourite Microsoft accessibility features which I use every day to help me be more effective. I use dark mode, I increase the text size and the mouse pointer size, I use read aloud and immersive reader.
I’ve also used accessibility features to help me with temporary needs. Like breaking my glasses (text size), being a noisy environment (captions) or even to make notes while driving (speech recognition).
Whether you have a chronic disability or a temporary disability there will be accessibility features to benefit you.
- Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365
- Dictate in Microsoft 365
- Accessibility support for Windows
Take your productivity tools to the next level
The Microsoft productivity tools you use every day have built in productivity features:
- Reduce your mouse use with keyboard shortcuts
- Listen to web pages with screen reader
- Go hands free with dictation
- Focus on content with immersive reader
See Microsoft’s accessibility guides for Microsoft 365 and Office apps.
- Outlook: Accessibility tools for Outlook
- Word: Accessibility tools for Word
- Excel: Accessibility tools for Excel
- Microsoft Teams: Accessibility support for Microsoft Teams
- Windows: Accessibility support for Windows
- PowerPoint: Accessibility tools for PowerPoint
- OneDrive: Accessibility tools for OneDrive
- SharePoint: Accessibility tools for SharePoint
- OneNote: Accessibility tools for OneNote