A journey to accessibility

By: Diana Petrowicz, Mon May 17 2021
Diana Petrowicz

Author: Diana Petrowicz

Accessibility is the quality of being easy to obtain or use and being easily understood or appreciated. It is also reflected in the Web Accessibility Directive (adopted in 2016) which requires public sector websites and mobile applications to be accessible. The European Accessibility Act (adopted in 2019) extends the accessibility requirement to a number of products and services (banking, e-commerce, e-books, passenger transport, audiovisual media, computers, smartphones, television, ATMs, ticketing machines). But what does that mean for a company such as Springer Nature?  

In 2020, we started employing accessibility specialists to help support teams to improve the accessibility of our products and, in 2021, we will create an accessibility steering group to advise, guide, and review our progress across Springer Nature, to make our content more accessible to all. We are committed to improving user experience and significantly increasing user experience research with participants with a disability (working towards a longer-term aim of 20% representation).

One of accessibility goals is to make your websites usable by as many people as possible. This means not only making them easier accessible for people with disabilities, but also making sites accessible for people using mobile devices or tablets, or those in areas of the world where network connections are not as advanced.

We are committed to making our website as accessible as possible to everyone, including those with visual, hearing, cognitive and motor impairments. We're constantly working towards improving the accessibility of our website to ensure we provide equal access to all of our users.

As part of our commitment to accessibility, we ensure that our website is compatible with:

  • Recent versions of popular screen readers
  • Speech recognition software
  • Operating system screen magnifiers
  • Operating system speech packages

We always make sure that our website follows accessibility best practices by following the principles of universal design. This ensures the site is flexible and adaptable to different users’ needs or preferences, and is accessible through a variety of different technologies, including mobile devices or assistive technologies.

What are companies doing to support accessibility?

The Valuable 500 is a global movement working to put disability inclusion on the business leadership agenda. It is a global CEO community dedicated to radically transforming the business system across the whole supply chain for the benefit of all those with a disability. 

Companies joining the Valuable 500 agree to

  • Table disability on their board agenda
  • Make one firm commitment to action
  • Share your commitment to The Valuable 500 internally and externally

Springer Nature signed The Valuable 500 initiative at the end of January 2021, committing increase efforts to make a positive difference to disability inclusion. Our Valuable 500 Commitment states that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are essential to achieving its mission of opening doors to discovery, enabling everyone at Springer Nature to contribute their best and thrive, and supporting more equitable outcomes in learning and advancing scholarship. We are taking further steps to ensure recruitment processes follow best practice for accessibility, will become a Disability Confident organisation in the UK and will continue to build and support global employee networks focused on disability and neurodiversity.

We are also excited to announce that Springer Nature has been shortlisted for the Inclusivity in Publishing Award as part of the London Book Fair International Excellence Awards 2021 for a second time in a row. This year, the London Book Fair International Excellence Awards, held in partnership with the Publishers Association, celebrate publishing achievement across seven categories, recognising those organisations and individuals demonstrating remarkable originality, creativity, and innovation within the industry. The winners of the International Excellence Awards will be announced in May.

If you would like to find out more about how we are supporting accessibility, have a look at our Springer Nature Accessibility Statement, our approach to accessibility for Springer journal pages and sign up for the Librarian Alerts to keep up-to-date with Springer Nature news and initiatives.

Diana Petrowicz

Author: Diana Petrowicz

Diana Petrowicz is a Marketing Manager in the Sales Enablement team, based in the London office. Supporting the Sales and Account Development teams, she is enthusiastic about finding innovate ways to communicate with the library community and specialises in producing and writing case studies across the portfolio.