Accessibility is Mission Critical
Updated: Nov 3, 2021
Today, on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we at ScribeConcepts affirm how central accessibility is to the work we do. It is, in fact, mission critical — for both our business mission, and our social mission.
As a publishing project management firm that specializes in the development of educational materials, our business mission is to build creative processes that navigate the path from concept to product.
As a small company that strives to be intentional about its impact on the world, our social mission focuses on equity. We believe equity clears a path for everyone to engage, contribute, and heal. This philosophy guides every action we take, from talent recruitment and support to our volunteer efforts and organizational giving.
Specifically, we strive to support the neurodiverse and differently-abled, whether through the hiring process for a team member, or by advising and supporting our clients to ensure their materials are accessible.
Just a few weeks ago, we successfully finished a large project that processed and delivered more than 30,000 pages of Kindergarten through Grade 8 materials to meet standards set by the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Center (NIMAC). This work involved remediating hundreds of print files at the XML (Extensible Markup Language) level so that they are accessible for digital readers and other aids for the differently-abled.
This is actually a heightened area of focus for us. We have always coordinated and supported accessibility teams, but as part of our pivot in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw an opportunity to do much-needed work that matched our nascent business and social mission.
Our takeaways as we learn more about accessibility, particularly in the educational materials space:
NIMAC standards are a good starting point, but more needs to be done to achieve true accessibility.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are also an excellent reference for curriculum and other developers of published products.
As curriculum project architects, we at ScribeConcepts must ensure that accessibility is “baked in” at every stage of development — when products are being conceived and prototyped; when curriculum designers are writing and editing; and when production is underway for print and digital curricula
We believe an accessibility reckoning is coming soon, and those who have thoughtfully integrated accessibility considerations into their content will stand stronger in that harsh light than those who merely remediated later.
Accessibility design failures in content create challenges for the differently-abled, even as they aim to help. Our own understanding and empathy for the differently-abled has increased the more we wade into this space. We’ve seen firsthand how even remediated content can be technically accessible, yet challenging to navigate and comprehend.
So today we renew our commitment to this good work. We all must do better to understand the experience of our fellow humans, and to ensure true equity for all.
For more about our NIMAC work, please see this general overview: https://scribe.ink/NIMAS-101
ScribeConcepts provides the end-to-end architecture, from curriculum writing to template creation, editing, copyediting, layout, and digital and print delivery. When our clients lack resources in one of these needed areas, our network of talent fills the gaps by following ScribeConcepts’ best practices and processes to create elegant products that make a difference in the world.