Pretty Accessible: Bringing Beauty, Simplicity, and Usability to Accessible Products

Handouts Media

Presented at 11:45am in Cotton Creek I on Friday, November 16, 2018.



  • Rachel Comerford, Senior Director of Accessibility Outreach and Communication, Macmillan Learning
  • Amy Salmon, Senior Accessibility Consultant, TechForAll

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


As educational materials move to the digital domain, resources provided to students extend beyond texts. Simulations have all become key resources. Each needs to be accessible and comes with unique challenges. Sadly, accessibility has an undeserved reputation for joyless functionality and pedagogical compromise. So how do we make Pretty Accessible?


The most requested materials for courses can be the most difficult to make accessible. Because of that accessibility is frequently presented as a kind of compromise. Worse, it’s presented as a compromise that will result in a less attractive or fun to use product. This conversation will explore some basic steps for creating accessible presentation and course material that is both attractive and pedagogically sound. In other words, how one can create and use material that is both pretty and accessible. We will start with a discussion of the development process for a common design language that aligns with basic principles of universal design and user experience and move on to implementation within various activity types including complex STEM interactives.


  1. How to use learning objectives to drive functionality, rather than using functionality to drive accessibility
  2. The importance of establishing a common, accessible design language that you will want to reuse
  3. What to look for in accessible interactives

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Alternate Format, Uncategorized, Web/Media/App Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Rachel Comerford

Rachel Comerford is the Senior Director of Accessibility Outreach and Communication at Macmillan Learning where she leads cross-functional efforts to ensure students of all abilities have access to their course materials. In 2020, BISG awarded Rachel the Industry Innovator award for her work helping Macmillan Learning to become the first Global Certified Accessible publisher by Benetech. Under her leadership, Macmillan was recognized by WIPO’s Accessible Book Consortium with the International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing in 2020 for their work towards providing educational materials that any student can use. She has over a decade of experience in the print and digital publishing world. Prior to coming to Macmillan as an editor, she held a variety of editorial and sales positions at WW Norton and Pearson.

Amy Salmon

Amy Salmon has been a Senior Accessibility Consultant for Tech for All, Inc. (TFA) since 2003. TFA is a 17 years old highly regarded international accessibility & universal design consulting firm that serves small to Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, and non profit organizations representing people with disabilities. Amy conducts accessibility analysis and evaluations of websites, software, content, and integrated hardware & software applications.

Legally blind since 1995, Amy combines her knowledge of access technology with training and expertise in accessibility guidelines and best practice to provide TFA clients with a comprehensive analysis of the accessibility and usability of their products. She has worked with variety of industries including airlines, eCommerce, higher education, publishing, retail, and telecommunication. Amy’s goal is to make accessibility for all an integral part of the future.

She has published and presented numerous times at the CSUN International Technology and Persons with Disabilities and at the Accessing Higher Grounds Conferences. She has a Master’s of Science degree in Rehabilitation for the Visually Impaired from Northern Illinois University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.