No mouse challenge issued for Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Ian Steenhoek

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is occurring on May 18 this year.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is an event that is intended to raise awareness for web designers of the overall accessibility of online digital content, ranging from photos and videos to text and design. 

This event began as an idea from a blog post in 2011, according to the Global Accessibility Awareness Day’s website. Through the collaboration of Joe Devon, the original poster of the blog and a web developer in Los Angeles, and Jennison Asuncion, a Toronto based accessibility professional, the Global Accessibility Awareness Day was created. 

According to Zayira Jordan, web accessibility coordinator for Iowa State, the purpose of the event is to raise awareness about how accessible web content is, from both the standpoint of people with disabilities and without. 

Jordan believes that everyone can benefit in this way, whether it be those with disabilities who may struggle accessing certain content, or those who create it. 

There are various activities that people may participate in. There are various webinars discussing how to make content more accessible. 

Iowa State is participating by promoting the #NoMouseChallenge. This challenge involves unplugging the mouse from the computer (or disabling the trackpad on laptops) and attempting to access content using only the arrow, shift, tab, enter and spacebar keys. 

Web developers are encouraged to take their websites for a “test drive” using only these keys.

To Jordan, the hopeful outcome is to “develop a cultural ideology that all content can be accessible by everyone.” as well as creating a sense of empathy for those who cannot access certain content due to various impairments ranging from cognitive and visual to hearing and motor skills.