Accessibility has often been the last thing on organizations minds when they develop their products and services! But this is surely changing! We have seen the impact that Section 508 has impacted procurement in the US. Today, we are seeing it providing an edge not only at the Federal or Central level but at the states too!
Let’s take the business case for Publishers and how accessibility can assist them in differentiating their product! Texas Education Agency (TEA) in the Proclamation 2017 issued a notice to both publishers and the public that the State Board of Education (SBOE) is inviting bids to furnish new instructional materials for a list of courses.
This document refers to accessibility in multiple places and for different types of deliverables and not just restricted to books. It also now includes electronic instructional material such as CD-ROMs, DVDs or web-based instructional materials.
It clearly states that for:
- Printed Instructional material – one copy of the material should be delivered as a Nimas file for Braille, Large Print & Audio Production
- Instructional material delivered Electronically – A third party audit report of conformance to Web Content Accessibility Guideline 2.0 – Level AA standards. It even identifies the minimum audit that needs to be conducted for home page, randomly selected pages with different types of elements like tables, forms, images. Though the publisher can determine the number of pages to be included.
It is impressive that more and more procurement guidelines are not just expecting the web accessibility standards but also refer to standards for MathML, Image Description Guidelines.
As businesses, we can’t ignore accessibility any longer. I think the publishing industry is seeing this. Its time for the rest of the industries to adopt accessibility rather than lose business to competition who is adopting it.
Let’s get proactive and not reactive about Accessibility. If you need to discuss your organizations accessibility strategy, do reach out to us!