May the 18th 2023 felt on Thursday and it was the 12th Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) (opens in new window). When I started with my role in Slovenian Institute for Digital Accessibility (in Slovenian, opens in new window) I expressed my wish to establish a GAAD event in Slovenia because there weren’t any official ones available.
I made my private “Slovenian Accessibility Awareness Day – State of Accessibility in Slovenia“, but learned fast that awareness can only be extended when multiple people cooperate, especially if initiators are not famous, like myself.
Luckily Institute leadership agreed and informed me that they already mentioned it to other institutions and even Ministry of digitalization of Slovenia, so it was just the matter of details.
My contribution to first Slovenian GAAD was based on two lectures, and I will summarize them in this blog post as they are only available in Slovenian language.
Slovenian GAAD lecture part one – State of accessibility of public sector in Slovenia
I love the possibilities of automatic accessibility testing and am also realistic about prospects and limitations at the same time. I decided to contribute with a pilot project that used automatic accessibility testing (somehow based on my aXeSiA open source accessibility testing, but updated and improved a lot) and test as much of Slovenian websites as possible.
At the end we gathered quite a lot of data:
- we analyzed 1750 Slovenian domains (got 66434 reports for different urls under them),
- 1140 domains with 25541 reports belonged to public sector,
- out of 22541 analysis only 53 didn’t have any automatically detected accessibility issues.
This means that according to our analysis only 2.07 promille of webpages in Slovenian public sector analyzed in the time period from April to May of 2023 didn’t have any automatically detectable accessibility failures. All 53 of them were found on two public sector websites, one from educational sector and the other one from public digital service sector.
This lecture was presented to to all attendees, approximately 50 of them. According to my info most of them representatives of public sector organizations, organizations of people with disabilities, accessibility specialists and some web agencies.
First lecture was recorded and everything was interpreted in sign language.
Slovenian GAAD – my lecture part two – Professional processes and experiences of enabling digital accessibility
I presented a lecture about problems with accessibility overlays that was made by a colleague of mine that couldn’t attend by herself and it was a good example of why overlays aren’t a solution and can often even do more harm to accessibility.
Just a day before GAAD “Accessibility overlays don’t guarantee compliance with European legislation” article (opens in new window) was published by The European Disability Forum (EDF) and International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) and I mentioned that to the audience present.
I tried to present best practices around making existing website more accessible, especially where to start, what to define and some practical examples. Audience was quite engaged and I got some really good questions that I tried to explain.
Unfortunately a lot of questions were quite specific and I needed to start explaining why “it depends” without understanding the specifics in details. An example was – how to make sure our website will be accessible and how to test that our providers really do what they promised. I explained some quick tests and mentioned that ideally we should build our accessibility competence internally with help of external specialists in the start.
It was quite obvious that some organizations want to do the right thing but lack proper knowledge and guidance. Luckily this GAAD made a bit of progress on the awareness front, but it was really obvious that we need to do a lot more than just awareness.
Conclusion and lessons learned
I loved the engagement and being able to share some knowledge of my own + advocate my passion for accessibility to others. The event was also a good networking forum and I got to meet some people that I cooperated with in person. That was amazing. At the same time I met some new people from the field and we agreed that it’s more important to join our forces than fight on our own.
My biggest lesson learned was that I need to be more clear when presenting and that I really need to raise my voice for the people in the back (both literally and metaphorically). Sorry about that, I will do better next time!