Celebrating Global Accessibility Day: Driving Inclusion through Digital Enhancements
Both a key challenge and concern in today’s world, accessibility is increasingly critical to scholarly publishing strategies. Despite a surge of discussions and advancements made against the topic in recent years, the existing accessibility gaps and shortcomings are becoming more exposed across multiple facts of the industry. The lack of accessible content, systems, policies, and opportunities limit (or in severe cases, exclude) the inclusion and representation of minority groups due to factors such geographic, financial, racial, disability, and more. Beyond the obvious ethical obligation and contribution to societal change, facilitating accessibility can introduce many benefits to publishers – such as enhanced quality and credibility, broader scope and impact, stronger performance, and potential increased revenue for competitive advantage.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) drives awareness to digital access and inclusion for the ~one billion people worldwide with disabilities or impairments. In honor of the 12th annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Aries celebrates the pivotal role digital accessibility plays and our commitment to compliance to champion engagement and empowerment for all in our scholarly publishing user community.
Aries Systems strives to make our digital end-to-end workflow management solutions fully accessible to all users, regardless of physical abilities, through purposeful enhancements to further research and innovation. We demonstrate our commitment to enabling access and optimizing the experience for individuals with disabilities using Editorial Manager® (EM) and ProduXion Manager® (PM) by:
- Adhering to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1
- Training accessibility champions of industry best practices
- Sharing and collaborating through an accessibility guild
- Soliciting direct end-user feedback to make data-driven decisions
- Being mindful of auditory, cognitive, physical, speech, and visual needs
As part of our user interface (UI) user experience (UX) redesign initiative, we follow accessibility best practices in our design standards, including color contrast ratios, alternative text for images, and keyboard navigation. This year, we released many UI/UX improvements to Editorial Manager, including underlying enhancements to the Author submission process and a redesign to part of the Reviewer Selection process.
Aries has applied accessible design standards to our submission process with several improvements released already this year. Code and visual changes were made to better support keyboard-only users, screen reader users, and users with visual disabilities. Aided by a series of user interviews, design improvements were made to the submission process making it both more accessible and more functional for all users. Aries Systems will continue to follow industry standards and best practices to further digital accessibility in the scholarly publishing user community.
“To better align with the needs of a digitally accessible world and ever-evolving publishing landscape, Aries has made it a strategic priority to improve our platforms to not just accommodate all users, but advocate for their representation. We are thrilled with the progress made thus far towards fostering inclusive environments through incremental accessible-software design enhancements,” said Nick Paolini, Aries Product Manager and lead for the Aries UI/UX redesign initiative.
To learn more about GAAD, we welcome the community to check out their available resources and participate in events to drive awareness on improving digital accessibility. To learn more about the Aries UI/UX project and/or included accessibility enhancements, subscribe to the UI/UX Update newsletter or contact your Aries Account Coordinator. To volunteer feedback to our UI/UX team on current and upcoming EM/PM designs, sign up for our UI/UX Feedback Program!