Organizational and Practical Information
Organizations need to put in place an approach to their digital publishing that benefits all consumers. By making publications available to the widest possible audience you are allowing your readers the opportunity to maximise their engagement with your content. By adopting and publicising your approach to accessibility through a strong company policy you can ensure your company’s commitment is understood and is a top priority. The recently launched ASPIRE project is looking at company accessibility policies and many examples of how you might go about this are available at this useful resource together with guidance and advice.
Internally it makes sense to have an accessibility advocate or team who can provide a focal point for all communication and activity in-house – someone who is understanding of the legal requirements within your particular market and who appreciates the technical and non-technical issues that your accessibility policy affects. Most importantly this person would be aware that engagement from the entire supply chain is necessary if accessibility is to be a success and they would have the ability to influence this in-house.
Internal digital workflows would benefit from attention to make sure that accessibility is being built in from the ground up and that costly and time-consuming retro-fitting of files isn’t your fall back position. You may want to think about some expert advice in this area as accessibility shouldn’t be either time-c0nsuming or costly if your workflows allow for its inclusion. There are many people who can help with digital workflows – just make sure that they can engage with your accessibility policy.
The DIAGRAM Project has a number of top tips for publishers in their efforts to create accessible EPUB files. Amongst these is an emphasis on Organizational Processes:
- Initiate a sustained company-wide effort to make accessibility a core value in the production and dissemination of content, including the development of a company policy statement to express the accessibility commitment.
- Develop and implement accessibility guidelines and training for authors.
- Develop and implement accessibility guidelines and training for editorial and production staff.
- Discuss accessibility requirements and standards with vendors.
- Include an accessibility review in the quality-assurance process.
- Include accessibility information on your website and appropriate marketing materials.
- Add accessibility awareness training for customer service staff.
Training is, of course, vital for your in-house and 3rd party contacts in order for your accessibility policy to be successful. Inclusive Publishing has a number of training resources that will help to get you started, most notably the Introduction to Accessible Publishing course on the DAISY Learning Platform.