In the world of publishing, people are going digital.
As a result, this outburst of digital content has created greater access to educational materials for a wider range of people.
While digital content is easier to disseminate, it can also be made more accessible for people with disabilities.
Unfortunately, many publishing houses are still trying to figure out what accessible content means. Sure, they get their content out to more people, but they often forget about making it accessible.
Often, all it takes is inserting a few more pieces into the publishing workflow.
Are publishing houses legally required to make their content accessible?
The simple answer is yes, although sometimes it depends on the industry in which the publishing house is working in.
For example, publishing firms who work in education must provide higher ed institutions with accessible versions of the content. Publishing firms in this industry are affected both indirectly and directly by educational laws.
Indirectly, this means that publishing houses must work with schools to ensure they are meeting these standards and providing the necessary accommodations.
More directly, publishing houses who work in education are bound by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and state requirements. State “etext” statutes require publishing houses to provide disability support service offices with digital versions of print materials for courses where a student with a disability is enrolled.
Internationally, more than 160 countries and the European Union (not the USA though), signed the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, agreeing “to promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.” This agreement also ensures that everyone has equal access to education.
Similarly, those who work outside of the education industry are also indirectly and directly required to provide accessible content. Both the ADA and state laws require content to be made accessible.
Publishing houses are increasing video use
In a survey by GVPi and Renew Publishing Consultants, they found that more and more publishing houses are increasing video use. As a result, many are also trying to implement captions and transcripts.
The following list is compromised of five publishing powerhouses that are demonstrating that making content accessible, and, in particular, captioning content, is feasible when you make a company-wide commitment to it.
Pearson is another educational authority that is making strong strides towards greater inclusion.
Pearson’s accessibility policy is, “To help people make progress in their lives through learning. We will only be successful when our educational materials are accessible to all users.”
Pearson’s guidelines are based on WCAG 2.0 standards and the recommendations from the United States Access Board and the Information Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC).
Pearson also works closely with members of the community to ensure their materials are functional and accessible.
Pearson truly stands out with their commitment to accessibility, and how willing they are to help others understand what it takes to be an accessible publishing house.
If you are interested in learning more, it’s definitely worth checking out their guide to accessible publishing.
Macmillan is an international publishing company specializing in fiction and non-fiction publishing, as well as educational publishing under Macmillan Learning and Macmillan Education.
Macmillan “strives to create products that are usable by all learners and meet universally applied accessibility standards.”
Accessibility at Macmillan is measured by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines.
At no additional costs, Macmillan’s policy is to provide students and instructors with accessible versions of their materials.
Their determination to make products accessible to an array of people is something to be admired.
In particular, Macmillan has made a strong push to caption videos. Captioning videos not only makes them accessible, it also benefits all students.
3. McGraw-Hill Education
Since 1888, McGraw-Hill has been a publishing leader in the education realm.
At the core of their business is print material. From textbooks to workbooks, McGraw-Hill has always been a popular solution for the scholastically inclined.
But for the last couple of years, McGraw-Hill has also been growing as a leader in digital publishing, and actively working to create accessible alternatives for their digital materials.
Through their “Roadmap to Accessibility,” McGraw-Hill is actively working to implement WCAG 2.0 standards on all their products.
By getting higher up support and actively educating their teams on accessibility, McGraw-Hill is steadily working its way towards an even more accessible future.
As their Senior Vice President puts it, “The key to success, is you need to get the senior leaders to understand why this is important, what the issue is, and what are the actions we need to take.”
To learn more about McGraw-Hills accessibility roadmap, watch the webinar, “How McGraw-Hill Is Formulating a Unified Approach to Digital Accessibility.”
4. Bloomsbury Publishing
Bloomsbury Publishing is a worldwide publisher of fiction and nonfiction classics.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Harry Potter books? Well, you can thank Bloomsbury for bringing them to life.
Like all the other publishing houses on this list, Bloomsbury is also working its way into the digital realm. They help publish everything from books to video and audio resources.
Bloomsbury offers enhancing and innovative digital publishing solutions. Now, you may be wondering how do they make their videos and audio resources engaging?
Well, they caption them, of course! And, they go above and beyond by using accurate, high-quality captions.
This is important because inaccurate captions are not accessible. Inaccurate captions can change the meaning of the content, confuse viewers, and hurt the credibility of the brand.
When it comes to accessible content, it’s always important to follow the highest standards.
HarperCollins is one of the largest publishing houses in the world.
Because of this, many companies look up to and admire HarperCollin’s quality and innovation.
And in the realm of digital publishing, HarperCollins is committed to breaking the barriers of inaccessible content.
Their accessibility policy states, “HarperCollins, as part of its goal to encourage and promote literacy, is committed to facilitating access for persons with print disabilities.”
At no extra cost, they make all their print books braille accessible. Furthermore, they also make their content accessible and caption where necessary.