This Thursday the 21st of May is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, a day to raise awareness of the importance of making technology — everything from smartphones, to laptops and PCs, to websites themselves — easy to operate by any user, no matter their disability. Apple is getting on board with the event in Australia, holding a couple of talks to open peoples' eyes about disability and accessibility.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day is an opportunity to raise the profile of the importance of accessibility in technology — to show app developers, hardware manufacturers and end users and consumers alike that modern, digital technology should be usable by anyone, even those with disabilities. In Australia, almost 20 per cent of the population lives with a disability of some kind, as does around 15 per cent of the worldwide population — over a billion people.
Apple is running two events to celebrate World Accessibility Day. Tomorrow, the first, held at Australia's flagship Apple Store in Sydney at 6PM, will see Vision Australia's senior adaptive technology consultant David Woodbridge — someone whose role includes advising blind and vision impaired people how to use technology like Apple's smartphones and tablets, as well as PCs and laptops — discussing Apple Watch's accessibility features with Alex Jones from Ai Media.
Also at the Sydney event, David Niemeijer, founder and CEO of AssistiveWare, will talk about AssistiveWare's app Proloquo4Text, an augmentative and alternative communication program for anyone with a speech difficulty or impairment.
There's a second event on Global Accessibility Assistance Day itself at the Brisbane Apple Store on the 21st of May, where video producer and YouTube personality Christopher Hills will talk about the broader range of Apple accessibility features. Hills lives with atethoid cerebral palsy and is quadriplegic, but is a skilled and capable enough user of his Mac to be an Apple Certified Professional in Final Cut X.
Amongst other things, Hills uses dedicated Bluetooth switch hardware with Apple's Switch Controls to navigate sequentially through on-screen items.
Here's the info for the two events Apple is holding tomorrow and on Thursday. to celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day. [Apple]
Apple Store Sydney — Apple Watch in Accessibility When: Tuesday 19 May at 6.00pm - 7.00pm Where: Apple Store Sydney, 367 George Street, Sydney Apple Store Brisbane — Global Accessibility Awareness Day: Christopher Hills When: Thursday 21 May at 5.00pm - 6.00pm Where: Apple Store Brisbane, MacArthur Chambers, Brisbane