For example, with learning languages. Say you are learning Spanish and speak English natively. When developing the product it will be important to pay attention to language tagging. If you don’t do that, everything gets read back as English by default and words of Spanish will be pronounced in English intonation.
We make an effort to ensure we align with WCAG2.0 AA and verify such with assistive technology tools that learners with disabilities often use. Significant work is put into code structure and tagging to ensure our learners can have an equal experience in the classroom.
We have massive effort around properly structured and described EPUB3 and are delivering our frontlist titles to market via partnerships with accessible retailers. We need to consider the whole landscape of the market and develop accessible ecosystems.
Amnet: You are collecting a lot of feedback from your customers?
Jonathan: Oh yes. We practice design thinking and invest heavily in user experience at Pearson. Our whole HECW accessibility plan is based on customer feedback and input.
My first year at Pearson was spent talking and engaging with customers, specifically related to accessibility. The foundation for our accessibility business plan was informed in large part to engagements like these. We have been hard at work creating all kinds of documentation for our customers so they can better understand the accessibility aspects on our products and how we consider accessibility to be a partnership.
Amnet: Is all of this information available to the public?
Jonathan: Anyone can request these materials from our accessibility support team and we will provide what is available.
Amnet: All right, so you mentioned technology and how it can create issues and solve some issues. Can you tell me how you use technology to meet your accessibility goals?
Jonathan: Absolutely, we have an internal requirement to consider accessibility upstream in order to deliver products that are born accessible. We consider it a firm customer requirement and rely on technology to scale towards achieving these goals across the portfolios.
Amnet: The goal is to make math fully accessible. Where do things stand with Pearson’s math textbooks?
Jonathan: We are at the leading edge of accessible math but we continue to look for opportunities to improve. For example, in most MyMathLab products an accessible HTML 5 version of the textbook is included and we are constantly researching innovative methods for delivering the best experience possible.
Amnet: Math has come a long way. You discussed a little bit about the feedback you’ve received on accessibility all these years and how it ended up shaping the entire commitment and program.
Jonathan: Everything is based on the customer feedback. Our customers have been clear that accessibility is important to them and we have listened.
Amnet: Do you think schools are working on similar solutions for accessibility?
Jonathan: Yes, and working together we are gaining momentum and alignment in that space.
Amnet: As far as remediating the files for higher education, is there a plan to remediate back list or you are concentrating on your front list at this point?
Jonathan: We are actively partnering across the accessibility space and achieving measurable progress against both fronts! Our goal is to be fully aligned to our customer accessibility requirements.
Pearson’s mission is to help people make progress in their lives through learning. Accessibility and achievement go hand in hand and Pearson is committed to providing access to people with disabilities as part of the fabric of their learning materials, development processes, innovation efforts, employee culture, and through their partnerships.
Amnet would like to thank Pearson Education and their accessibility staff for sharing their time and experiences, and for partnering with us to make their educational material accessible to all users.
Disclaimer: This is to inform readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the author, and do not reflect the views of Amnet.