Oxford GAAD 2021 - Global Accessibility Awareness Day

The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion. Read more about its origins 10 years ago and how others are marking the event.

Things you can do

Here are a few ways you can mark the day:

  1. View a recording of a workshop on accessibility from Thursday, 27 May 2021
  2. Bring a document or presentation to have it reviewed for accessibility and readability
  3. Learn about POUR: The four principles of accessibility
  4. Try a tool to test the accessibility of your document or page
  5. Share these resources with a colleague and have a conversation
  6. Watch this video in which Katherine Noren, head of the Disability Advisory Service, provides useful tips on how you can create more accessible learning environments for your students


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This workshop will introduce document and website editors as well as developers to the needs of people who require accessibility accommodations. It will cover both web pages and uploaded documents.

Participants will experience what it is like for a screen-reader user or a reader with processing disabilities (like dyslexia) to access a website and its contents.

Based on this increased understanding, participants will be able to familiarise themselves with best practices for avoiding common pitfalls. Participants are welcome to bring their own examples to analyse during the workshop.

  • Key blockers for people’s accessibility of web pages and uploaded documents
  • Recognised standards for accessibility and their enforcement
  • Common accessibility errors and their remediation
  • Tools for checking accessibility and other resources
  • Best accessibility practices for editors and developers

Date: 27 May 2021 12.30pm - 2pm

View recording (SSO required)

If you would like to have your document reviewed, you can book time on an editalong.

Editalong is an online get together where you can spend time working on making your document more accessible and readable along with others with guidance from an expert. You will have a chance to learn from others and share what you’ve learned.

You can watch these videos on readability to give you an overview of the five principles of making your documents more readable, actionable and accessible:

  1. Space: Larger fonts and bigger line spacing
  2. Chunks and structure: Bullets and headings organising text into smaller chunks
  3. Guides: Bolding key passages and adding icons
  4. Information structure: First things first, background last
  5. Simpler language: Shorter sentences

POUR is an acronym that stands for Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust. There are many highly technical aspects to making text accessible, but there are also some things you can do in everyday use without any additional preparation.


  • Any text: Make the font bigger and increase line spacing
  • Handouts and pages: Divide blocks of texts into smaller chunks marked by headings
  • Slides: Don’t put text across image background


  • Handouts: Make PDFs with clickable tables of contents and bookmarks
  • Videos: Add bookmarks to videos for easy navigation
  • Web pages: Don’t share images with text in them


  • Documents, canvas courses: Provide clear structure that is easily perceived by the readers.
  • Instructions and emails: Put important information first, background last
  • All text: Use shorter sentences


  • Posters and flyers: Create documents using software people are likely to have – for instance, Word not InDesign
  • Handouts: Use the appropriate tool for the job – for instance, create long text documents in Word not PowerPoint
  • Documents: Share information in one place where possible – for instance a Canvas site or Teams

Immersive Reader by Microsoft

Immersive Reader is a tool developed by Microsoft to make it easy to:

  • Set a comfortable font size and background for reading
  • Listening to text or reading while listening
  • Remove distractions from busy text

It is built into the latest of version of most Microsoft software (online and offline) and now also into Canvas.

The best way to experience it is to install the free Microsoft Edge as your browser (it works on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android). See this Immersive Reader guide for more details.

Note: Microsoft Edge is completely compatible with all Chrome extensions and had additional accessibility features. You can safely use it as your main browser.

Accessibility Insights

You can use another free tool provided by Microsoft call Accessibility Insights. Install the extension into your browser and run the tool on any website. It will guide you through a set by step assessment of the website’s accessibility.

Accessibility checker in Word, PowerPoint, Acrobat Reader, or on Canvas

Try running the accessibility checker in the software you use to produce documents. It will give you basic guidance on making your documents more accessible.


Bring a document or presentation to have it reviewed for accessibility and readability using an accessible template.

Book Editalong slot

Accessibility workshop

Register for a free online workshop on accessibility for web and content editors on Thu 27 May, 12.30pm-2pm.

Register for accessibility workshop