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Today, people from around the world are celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), a community-driven effort to raise awareness and discussion about digital accessibility.

GAAD was created in 2011 to get people talking, thinking, and learning about the importance of digital accessibility for users with disabilities. GAAD was inspired by a blog post by co-founder Joe Devon, who noticed that web developers were not doing enough to make websites and mobile apps accessible.

There are public events to celebrate GAAD in 18 countries on six continents, including 16 in the United States and six in Canada.

Even if there is not a GAAD event near you, you can still participate by taking an hour of the day to experience the impact of digital accessibility first-hand. GAAD organizers suggest putting the mouse away and controlling your computer with only a keyboard or surfing the web with a screen reader like JAWS, both of which are simple, yet impactful ways to illustrate the importance of digital accessibility. Developers can go a step further, by testing their websites with a color contrast analyzer or enlarging text to see if sites are still functional.

You can also participate in GAAD today by following the discussion on twitter at @gbla11yday and #gaad.

Join us today in celebrating GAAD!