Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2024: Our Accessibility Journey

susan_winslow
Macmillan Employee
Macmillan Employee
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As today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), I want to draw attention to our company’s vision statement: at Macmillan Learning, we envision a world in which every learner succeeds. As a learning company, this means we’re working tirelessly to ensure that, regardless of demographics or ability, each learner has the best possible opportunity to flourish in their educational experience. An important part of getting that right is developing course materials that are accessible, and I’m pleased to share some of our recent progress on our accessibility journey as it evolves with the needs of both students and instructors. 

For the fifth consecutive year, Macmillan Learning was recognized as Global Certified Accessible by Benetech. This means that we provide “born accessible” digital learning options that ensure that every student, no matter their ability, has the same access to information. Benetech certified our conformance to the accessible EPUB creation guidelines, which are based on WCAG 2.2 AA+ standards put in place by the international standards organizations and the publishing community. 

While I am proud of our recognition, we understand that accessibility is not only about checking boxes or fulfilling requirements; rather to us, it is an ongoing journey of creating a world in which every learner succeeds. Our product and engineering teams have been busy at work trying to do just that with ongoing updates to Achieve, our digital learning platform, to make it more friendly for users with disabilities. Their work included experiments with tools and workflows that integrated accessibility testing and resolution earlier in their development process.

Recognizing that accessibility is a journey we are on together, our teams wouldn’t be able to make these improvements to our products without a firm understanding of accessibility themselves. This is why we continue to focus on accessibility internally as well, offering training opportunities for all employees to become better allies to the students and instructors we support. This commitment to our employees is also a reason that we scored 100% on the Disability Equality Index, which ranks companies on their use of best practices that support disability inclusion, for the third consecutive year.

Lastly, I would like to take the opportunity to shine a spotlight on one of our Employee Resource Groups, AVID (Awareness of Visible and Invisible Disabilities), for their partnership in helping  increase awareness of disabilities. Throughout the year, they’ve worked with individual employees to share blogs, stories, and informational posts about their experiences with disabilities, demonstrating to all of us that improving accessibility is helpful to everyone, not just those with disabilities. 

Everything we do is in service to our common goal with educators—to see students succeed and inspire what’s possible. Accessibility will always be an important part of that journey.

 

Want to learn more? Read more about where to start when designing an accessible course and what it means to have “accessible” course materials.