What is Global Accessibility Awareness Day?

Thursday, May 16 is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). Since 2012 Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) has been marked each year on the third Thursday of May. In 2024 it takes place on May 16. The aim of Global Accessibility Awareness Day is to focus attention on digital access and inclusion, making digital products accessible to all, regardless of ability or disability.

According to the latest estimates from the Department of Work and Pension's Family Resources Survey, there are 16 million Disabled people in the UK, which is around 24% of the population. The World Health Organisation report that there are 1.3 billion people worldwide currently experiencing significant disability and this number is increasing.

Learn more about the history and aims of Global Accessibility Awareness Day

What is digital accessibility?

Digital accessibility is the practice of removing barriers on a website, app or digital product to make it usable for as many people as possible. Access to information, including the web, is defined as a basic human right by the United Nations.

Web accessibility prioritises Disabled people using assistive technologies such as screen readers. It can also help people without disabilities. For example, people using mobile phones or those with slower internet connections will benefit from an accessible website or digital product.

It is essential that websites and technologies are designed with good user experience principles so people can:

  • understand and interact with the web
  • contribute to the web.

Accessibility is essential for some, but useful for all.

What are assistive technologies?

Assistive technologies are products or software that support individuals with disabilities and impairments to interact with the web or perform functions.

Common impairments and their assistive technologies

You or someone you know may live with a disability in their life. Below are some examples of common disabilities and the devices used to improve or maintain their interaction with websites and their functionality.

  • Visual

    People who are blind or visually impaired need alt text descriptions for images. They may use screenreaders, refreshable braille displays or keyboards to interact with software. Audio descriptions on video can help them interact with visual media.

  • Hearing

    People who are hard of hearing or deaf will need subtitles for videos and audio cues replaced with visual indicators.

  • Motor

    People with motor impairments might need adaptive hardware like specialised keyboards, speech input or eye control technology to help them interact with devices.

  • Cognitive

    People with cognitive or learning disabilities benefit from consistent navigation, plain language and simple design.

Accessible support for people living with cancer

Finding the information you need when you are living with cancer can feel confusing and stressful. At Macmillan, we provide accessible services for people living with cancer at every stage of their cancer diagnosis. We want it to be easy for you to find what you are looking for so you can get help right away.

At Macmillan, we are working towards meeting Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2. These guidelines are the internationally recognised benchmark for building accessible websites.


Macmillan Support Line

Our Support Line is open 8am to 8pm seven days a week. If you're not sure how to get accessible cancer information, you can speak to the Macmillan Support Line.

If you are hard of hearing or deaf, you can request a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter call to be set up. To access this, you can either email us or chat with us online to request a BSL interpreter call to be set up. Alternatively, you can have a hearing family member or friend call the support line on your behalf.

Please note, it can take up to 3 working days to arrange a call. This depends on the availability of BSL interpreters and finding a time that suits you. You will need to have access to a laptop or PC, a good internet connection and a webcam. Call 0808 808 0000 to find out more about this service.

Call our support line

Information in different languages

We have cancer information in languages other than English to help you get the support you need.

If you are new to the UK with cancer, we can offer an interpreter service on the phone.

Find help in your language

Chat with us online

The Macmillan Chat Service offers specialist support to people living with cancer and their loved ones. You can speak to talk with nurses, welfare rights advisors, financial guides and cancer information specialists. To access the webchat service, click the webchat icon in the bottom right corner of your screen.

Our chat service is open 8am to 8pm seven days a week.

Chat to us

British Sign Language (BSL)

The Macmillan Deaf Cancer Support Project is available to anyone living with cancer in the Deaf community. Trained Deaf volunteers can provide one on one virtual support in British Sign Language (BSL).

We also have a broad range of videos with British Sign Language (BSL) on our YouTube channel.

All our YouTube videos also have closed captions available as an option.

Watch our BSL videos

Easy reads

We have a range of easy read booklets available. Our easy read booklets use simple language and pictures. They can be useful for anyone who:

  • finds it hard to read
  • has a cognitive, visual or learning disability
  • wants to process cancer information easily.

Read our easy read booklets


You can search and view cancer information booklets about all aspects of living with cancer. You can also download and keep these information booklets.

View our booklets


Audiobooks are an accessible way to get information if print is not an option for users. We have a range of audio versions of our most needed booklets.

You can also listen to our Talking Cancer podcast for conversations about cancer.

Search our audiobooks

Braille and large print

Braille is a form of written language that allows blind, partially sighted and deafblind people to access written information.

We produce large print formats of our cancer information for people who have low vision.

Email our cancer information team if you need our cancer information in Braille or large print.

Email our information team

Accessible ways to help people living with cancer

Macmillan is here for everybody living with cancer, with our specialist information, support and services. But we couldn't do it without our supporters. Here are accessible ways you can get involved.

Inclusive fundraising

However you choose to fundraise for us, we'll support you the whole way.

Fundraise for Macmillan


With your help, we can continue to provide accessible support for people living with cancer. We provide different ways to donate to Macmillan. You can donate online, by text, send a cheque, donate over the phone or pay directly into our bank.

Donate now

Campaign with us

Sign a petition, email your MP or share our campaign actions with your friends. Taking action is easy, accessible and can make a real difference to people living with cancer.

Find out more