by Katie Lawry AE

Presentation by Julie Ganner AE and Agata Mrva-Montoya at the IPEd conference.

Starting the IPEd conference with a workshop was helpful to get into a learning mindset and a good way to start communicating with editing colleagues. Julie and Agata provided an excellent overview of accessibility issues relating to print disabilities, and ways to tackle them from an editorial perspective.

Many editors are aware of some basic aspects of accessibility, but it was helpful to learn about the breadth of potential accessibility barriers and some relatively simple ways to avoid them.

Workshop participants listened to Julie and Agata explain some specific common issues (for example, how colour-blindness can affect someone’s ability to accurately read information), and then entered the breakout rooms within Zoom to chat in groups about exercises that had been provided beforehand. Even though we could not be present in person, this was a good solution, and still allowed for the ‘round table’ talking that is so helpful in workshop situations. 

Something I found particularly useful was tips and tricks for how to make a Word manuscript more accessible, such as the explanation of how a screen-reader program deals with tables and text boxes. Styling manuscripts accurately is generally an important job for a book editor, but Julie and Agata’s workshop underlined how editors can really make a substantial difference when we apply the principles they talked about.

Katie Lawry AE is a professional member of IPEd and runs her own editing business.