Our Commitment to Accessibility at Taylor & Francis

Video and transcript

As one of the largest global publishers of academic content, we take it as our responsibility to ensure accessibility is central to our publishing, to improve learning outcomes and to ensure a more equitable and fair approach to content accessibility.

In 2019, we launched the Accessibility Working Group (AWG) to support changing customer and legal requirements throughout our publishing environment: eBooks, journals, and websites. The AWG is comprised of colleagues from across the organization who share a goal to make accessible content available, with a firm focus on customer experience, understanding our customers’ needs and driving changes to provide the best quality content in the most accessible way for everyone.

We recognize that we have more work to do, so customers can expect further benefits as we evolve our platforms and products to provide more detailed accessibility metadata and the improved and increased use of alt text and accessibility features within our products.

Hear from our Head of Content Management, Brianna Walker, and our Product Manager for Tandfonline.com, Elisabetta O'Connell, about how they strive to add value for our end users every day.

Transcript and audio description

Brianna Walker: I love being able to come into work and know that I'm going to learn something new that day, that I'm going to be able to work with colleagues, learn from them, be able to share my knowledge with them as well. And that what we're going to do together is going to benefit people who maybe we've never met before.

Elisabetta O’Connell: So I think it's very important that everybody has access to research no matter what their abilities are or what technology they use.

Brianna: My name is Brianna Walker and I'm the Head of Content Management for Taylor & Francis.

Elisabetta: I'm Elisabetta O'Connell, Product Manager at Taylor & Francis.

A series of images cross the screen as Brianna and Elisabetta tell their stories. These include: the front desk at a Taylor & Francis office, college-aged students discussing printed documents on a desk, a woman walking while reading her tablet, a man at his desk in an office, several people using their phones, a woman on a park bench typing on her laptop. There is also film footage of a city, shot from overhead, of people walking on a city street.

Brianna: Taylor & Francis is an academic publisher publishing in the humanities and social sciences, scientific, technical, engineering, and mathematics. We publish globally. And our mission is to curate knowledge for all. On a day-to-day basis, I manage a team of people who oversee our ebook conversions, print conversions, and ebook distribution.

Elisabetta: I manage the platform on which we publish all our online journals, which is called Taylor & Francis Online. So every day I make a decision on what enhancements to make on this platform and how to add value for our end users.

Brianna: So, accessibility is core to what we do at Taylor & Francis. We have an accessibility working group that started in 2019. On that group we have people from legal, production, in both books and journals, from our sales teams, marketing, editorial, really all over. We've tried to bring together key stakeholders that are interested in accessibility and really want to make an impact on the company.

Elisabetta: We use text-to-speech technology on our platform to enable all users to be able to listen to the articles, which helps for people that might have visual disabilities or cognitive disabilities.

Brianna: We were really pushing for alternative text-for-images because it is a very difficult part of the publishing process. You can have an almost accessible file at the end of the publication process, but without the image accessibility you're still missing a percentage of that. Accessibility for the research community I think is incredibly important, because you don't want to put up any extra barriers for anyone who's trying to do research.

Elisabetta: There are about 1 billion people with a disability in the world.

As Brianna and Elisabetta tell the stories of why they got into their field, there is film footage of two people using American Sign Language, and some old black and white historical movie footage of the polio epidemic of the 1950s. There is also footage of a young woman on a park bench reading a book using braille and a young man who is blind, holding a cane and listening to his phone.

Brianna: I grew up with a neighbor who was actually deaf and my sister really just developed a love for American Sign Language. And now she's a really successful interpreter. And I think from hearing and seeing the things that my sister was doing, I really took an interest in accessibility as a whole because I was seeing how it impacted people.

Elisabetta: When my mom was really young she had polio. As a consequence, her left arm had reduced ability and mobility. So I thought, how great would it be if we could enable everybody to do their daily job, daily tasks, without having to worry about their disabilities?

Brianna: I do think that accessibility should just be commonplace. It should just be second nature. Whether you're writing an email, whether you're creating a report, or you're publishing an ebook, or working on a journal, or whatever it might be, accessibility should just be core to that.

Elisabetta: I can make sure that the platform is accessible to as many people as possible independently from their ability and therefore access the precious content that they can use for their research.

Brianna: Taylor & Francis is the 2021 winner of the Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing. The award definitely represents all of the past two years of really dedicated work that we've done for accessibility. And we're looking into the future now, as we hire an accessibility officer to come in and help shape our strategy and really provide the kind of forward focus for the whole group and for the whole business.

Elisabetta: The work we've been doing on the platform to make it accessible to all users is making a real difference to them.

Brianna: Just knowing that everything that we're doing every day is really benefiting the wider accessibility community is really wonderful. Accessibility really is for everyone. And I think most people want to make sure that they're removing those barriers and allowing people to live their lives to the fullest. It 100% improves people's lives.

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