“Accessibility is everyone’s job because accessible products are usually better for everyone.”
Alan Maloney, Executive User Experience Manager, SAGE Publications
I’ve been spending quite a bit of time as a participant in the Accessibility Working Group at the American Mathematical Society “in the weeds” on accessibility issues, trying to understand the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) standards, completing VPATs (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template), and negotiating language in license agreements. So when I signed up to attend the “Accessibility in Publishing” webinar, I wondered how much I would learn that I didn’t already know.
The answer turned out to be “a lot.”
The speakers, Violaine Iglesias, CEO and Co-Founder of Cadmore Media; Alan Maloney, Executive User Experience Manager, SAGE Publications; and Nina Amato, Senior User Experience Designer at American Chemical Society, provided a useful balance of technical tips, tools, and standards, and a robust discussion about why accessibility is important and how to convince stakeholders that it is a worthwhile investment. A repeated mantra was “It’s the right thing to do.” In addition, the speakers reminded the audience that everyone’s abilities and disabilities can change over time. An example that stayed with me was that a disability can be permanent, as in a missing limb; temporary, as in a broken arm; or situational, as in a new parent working from home with an infant insisting to be held (this really resonated with me as I have clear memories of sustaining myself on roasted cashews during my parental leave because I could eat them one-handed!).
Rather than seeing adapting to accessibility standards simply as a requirement, or a burden, we can embrace it as an opportunity. The information provided by this webinar is a great place to start. Watch it on your schedule in the SSP OnDemand Library.
News contribution by SSP member, Nicola Poser. Nicola is Director of Marketing And Sales at the American Mathematical Society.