Articles (page 2)

EU Accessibility Act: Update (W)

EU Accessibility Act - Update Cover slide
EU Accessibility Act - Update Cover slideIn our series of free weekly webinars December 1st saw a session focused on the European Accessibility Act giving us a chance to check-in and find out the latest updates as we prepare for the act. This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Richard Orme, DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Antoine Fobe, European Blind Union
  • Cristina Mussinellim, The LIA Foundation
  • Thomas Kahlisch, dzb lesen
with contributions from:
  • Louis Marle, Albin Michel, France
  • Oscar Heslinga, Inginitas Learning, Netherlands
  • Jonas Lillqvist, Svenska Litteratursällskapet, Finland

Session Overview

This webinar discussed the implementation progress and latest developments in EAA legislation which is already shaping practices in Europe and around the world. Many organizations that sell into Europe are having to adapt their practices to comply with the new accessibility requirements.

The European Accessibility Act: Why, What and When?

Antoine Forbe began the webinar by giving us an essential refresher to the EAA, reminding us that it is essential for approx 80 million people in Europe who rely on accessible content. It became necessary to develop a single, coherent set of accessibility rules and in 2015 the European Commission proposed a wide-reaching accessibility act. After long periods of negotiation, the EAA was adopted in 2019, creating an obligation for member states to ensure that selected products and services placed in the EU market comply with accessibility requirements. There are many benefits, including:

For Businesses

  • A reduction in costs for the production of accessible goods
  • Easier cross border trading
  • Marketing opportunities for accessible products and services

For Citizens

  • More accessible products in the market
  • Competitively priced products
  • Fewer barriers to access
  • More jobs where accessibility expertise is needed
The act is not truly horizontal in that it applies to only a select list of products and services, with specific emphasis on digital. It does, however, bring a comprehensive set of minimum accessibility requirements that all businesses must respect and this is a wonderful step in the right direction. The act will have a wide impact on the publishing industry throughout the supply chain. Requiring national transposition by June 2022, the EAA is in fact a directive, the entry into force date is 2025.

Update on Technical Developments

Cristina Mussinelli spoke to us about digital publishing standards that are important in meeting the requirements of the EAA directive. EPUB offers the greatest opportunity for the econtent itself and a new version, EPUB 3.3, is due to be published soon. Accessibility requirements are one of the main areas of focus within the standard and it is accompanied by EPUB Accessibility 1.1, an accessibility specification together with the Digital Publishing WAI-ARIA Module 1.1. Metadata standards are vital for the end-user in order to inform the reader about accessible content. The following standards need to be adhered to: schema.org within the EPUB package, ONIX to directly inform the retailer and coming soon, a standardized method of describing content accessibility from W3C. Work and research have been completed to make sure that these standards are robust enough to meet the requirements of the EAA. For retailers and libraries, the W3C has recently published the User Experience Guide for Displaying Accessibility Metadata 1.0 Work continues in this area to look at other ebook formats, all the various departments in the publishing supply chain and a focus on end user awareness.

DAISY’s EU Inclusive Publishing Initiative

Thomas Kahlisch explained the work of The DAISY Consortium and its efforts to improve collaboration between the organizations involved in the EAA and the publishing industry via a community network. Areas of focus include: guidance, survey, case studies and signposting of resources. The survey was sent out to all EU countries and we have heard back from 14 (74% of the market). The complete findings will be published in January 2022 but results already show that countries are at very different stages in their preparation for the EAA. Some countries have steering groups which help to connect and collaborate both nationally and internationally. Case studies from Finland, The Netherlands, Germany and Italy look more closely at some of the preparatory details and materials that are already being used and we look forward to publishing more of these country-specific studies as part of the EU Inclusive Publishing Initiative. Thomas finished by drawing attention to the variety of resources available on this good work at Inclusive Publishing’s EAA Resource page which includes details of how to collaborate with the EU Inclusive Publishing Initiative.

Publisher Voices

Previous webinars about the EAA have emphasized the importance of starting to prepare now for 2025 and many publishers have begun their journey towards accessible publishing already. We heard from Luis Marle, Albin Michel, France; Oscar Heslinga, Inginitas Learning, Netherlands; Jonas Lillqvist, Svenska Litteratursällskapet, Finland on the progress they have been making, informing us of some of the lessons they learned on the way. Please take the time to listen to their extremely useful advice.

Related Resources

Legislation Resources

Standards and Technical Developments

Communication Activities

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Creating and Editing Accessible EPUB (W)

Title slide: Creating & Editing Accessible EPUB

Title slide: Creating and Editing Accessible EPUBIn our series of free weekly webinars November 17th saw a session focused on “Creating and Editing Accessible EPUB”. This webinar follows our previous session on Validating and Conformance Checking EPUBs.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Dawn Evans, AccessText Network—host and chair
  • Richard Orme, DAISY Consortium
  • Amit Verma, InDesign Trainer
  • Marianne Gulstad, Publizon

Session Overview

Dawn Evans introduced today’s session by explaining how the panel of experts would guide us through a journey from content creation in mainstream tools and conversion processes, to how the resulting EPUB can be edited and amended to deliver accessible content for use by anyone.

Workflow Options for Accessible EPUB

InDesign

Amit discussed how to produce accessible content using InDesign:

  • Why and When to Use InDesign. InDesign is used by content creators to produce both print and digital publications. Once you have converted your InDesign file to EPUB there are a number of modifications that can be made to improve the overall accessibility of the content.
  • How to Use Accessible EPUBs with InDesign. Very often we hear that InDesign does not produce good EPUB files but if certain steps are followed, much of this can be avoided: use well-defined styles, anchor the images at the correct places, add ALT text to images and define the layout order using the story or articles panel, generate a well-defined TOC, insert chapter breaks and last but not least, making sure that the content structure is well defined with the correct HTML mapping headings. Watch the webinar recording to see examples of these.
  • InDesign + Circular Software. At this point in the webinar, Richard Orme conducted a brief interview with Ken Jones, Founder and Director of Circular Software to hear what he has been working on to make this process easier. The “no code accessibility” tools that Circular software has developed assist with the export of InDesign to accessible EPUB, making this a much easier process for users.

PressBooks, Hederis: Web-Based Services

Richard talked us through both of these platforms, with consideration given to the accessibility support offered and how he found the experience. Both platforms fared well in his assessments and it’s worth checking out both in the recording or transcript for details.

Google Docs, Apple Pages, Word: Word Processing Options

Richard discussed these options and the accessibility support they offer, emphasizing that in all cases it is vital to start with a well-structured document. Google Docs offers a “nearly valid” EPUB with some limitations which were outlined. Sadly an EPUB generated from Google Docs is not really fit for purpose in terms of accessibility.

Using Apple Pages resulted in “valid” EPUB. There are some missing elements but overall it is fairly clean.

And finally, Microsoft Word using WordToEPUB which also produces “valid” EPUB with the option to include many other accessibility features on top of the basic set including being able to integrate quality assurance tools to check accessibility (such as Ace by DAISY).

Editing EPUB to Improve Accessibility

Marianne Gulstad described the two ways to edit EPUBs:

  1. you can unzip the EPUB container and use any editing tool to change the text before using a specialist tool to rezip the EPUB archive.
  2. or you make life easier and use an EPUB editor. There are a number of EPUB editors that can open, edit and save edits such as Sigil, Calibre, Oxygen, Scrivener, Jutoh and Blue Griffon. Marianne took a close look at Sigil giving lots of examples and demos and showing how this editor can be used to check the EPUB using EPUBCheck.

Related Resources

EPUB testing

InDesign Resources

Web-based EPUB Production Services

Note: many other web-based EPUB conversion and production tools exist, this is not a comprehensive list or an endorsement of these services over others.

GrackleDocs – Google Docs accessibility plugin

Desktop EPUB Production Tools

Useful Sigil Tutorials

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Validating and Conformance Checking of EPUB (W)

Title slide: Validating and Conformance Checking EPUB

Title slide: Validating and Conformance Checking EPUBIn our series of free weekly webinars November 3rd saw a session focused on the validation and conformance of EPUB content. When using the EPUB format a few simple steps can help highlight any issues and guide you on the path to creating more usable and accessible content.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Richard Orme, DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • George Kerscher, DAISY Consortium
  • James Yanchak, Taylor and Francis
  • Charles La Pierre, Benetech

Session Overview

Richard Orme introduced this session explaining that it’s not enough to create content in any format and simply hope it works on reading systems and that it can deliver accessibility. The three experts presenting this webinar looked at validating EPUB from their perspective angles.

What Is An Accessible EPUB?

Many publishers have switched to EPUB as their format of choice for their digital content workflow but, despite it being the format which offers the greatest opportunity for accessibility, some have missed the mark. By failing to include a table of contents, for example, or by not having a clear reading order, EPUB content was often disappointingly lacking in accessibility support. For an EPUB file to be accessible, the publisher must make the most of the features that the format offers.

An understanding of this together with knowledge of the legal requirements in your market are a good place to start an accessibility journey. Add to this an alignment with publishing and web standards and some technical research to provide a base of knowledge and publishers should be in a position to make the most of their EPUB workflow.

3rd Party Certification

Having a 3rd party certify your accessible content helps the publisher to navigate the standards and specifications and Charles La Pierre talked us through the Benetech Scheme, Global Certified Accessible (GCA), outlining the process required for a publisher to be certified. A score is attached and for content to be certified as Born Accessible, 80% is needed.

Developing Internal Standards

Internal standards help the publisher to narrow the technical landscape and make it relevant to their specific workflow. James Yanchak described how this is achieved at Taylor and Francis and explained how this has helped them to reach their accessibility goals. Any internal standard must adhere to the industry standard and it’s vital that training is offered to both in-house colleagues and external vendors.

Validating the EPUB

There are a number of tools which our panel recommended:

  • EPUBCheck – should be one of the first checks and if this is integrated into the workflow using the command line version then it becomes very straightforward.
  • Ace by DAISY – checks conformance of the EPUB to WCAG and offers a command-line version and a desktop version for one-off title checks
  • Ace SMART – to be used in conjunction with Ace and helps the user perform the manual checks that Ace identifies.
  • The DAISY Knowledge Base has been developed to help resolve accessibility issues and is constantly maintained.

All of these stages and checks are important to establish accessibility and “trust” in the end product. A reader needs to be able to trust the accessibility summary and metadata so that they can make the correct purchasing decisions.

Related Resources

Standards

Accessibility Criteria

Tools and Resources

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Creating and Reading Accessible Math (W)

Creating and Reading Accessible Math title slide

Creating and Reading Accessible Math title slideIn our series of free weekly webinars October 20th saw a session focused on accessible math and some of the complexities surrounding the creation and reading of math for students.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Stacy Scott, RNIB, host and chair
  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium
  • Joseph Polizzotto, Wake Technical Community College
  • Neil Soiffer, Talking Cat Software
  • Homiyar Mobedji, Benetech

Session Overview

Stacy Scott introduced this week’s session explaining that the presentation would remove some of the complexities surrounding the creation of accessible math by talking us through the workflow required and showing us via demos and examples that accessible math is achievable and relatively straightforward. Support for accessible math has improved greatly over recent years and it’s exciting to be able to show our audience some of the new methods, tools and solutions in this area.

Page Image

Neil Soiffer gave us a quick run through of the various math formats that are in existence and Joseph Polizzotto then explained where to start if the math in question isn’t available in one of these specific math formats and is appearing as an inaccessible image. OCR can help in this situation and there are various options here depending on your role and the scale of work involved eg. EquatIO, MathPix and Infty Reader. OCR can either be used on the fly for individual math expressions or it can be used to convert an entire document and Joseph talked us through the pros and cons of each tool in these scenarios, ending with an example of EquatIO in action.

Editing Math Equations in Word

Richard Orme discussed the next stage in a math workflow now that the math expression is in a word document but may require some editing. Currently there are 2 options here: the Microsoft Equation Editor, a built-in method with various options available for editing math expressions, and MathType, a powerful equation editor with lots of different integrations (and relatively affordable).

From Word to the Web

There are three routes to publishing your word document on the web:

  • Word-Save as web page
  • MathType-Publish as math page
  • WordToEPUB-creates an HTML version

Reading Math on the Web and with a Screen Reader

Joseph explained that in an educational environment, the Learning Management System provides a way to share contents with students. All institutions are different but it has become recommended best practice to use MathJax to render math in all types of browsers and LMS. MathJax provides consistent display and ensures that the math remains accessible. Joseph’s top tips are worth noting alongside the demo of math being rendered in the LMS, Blackboard. Neil talked the audience through the finer details of how to read math using a screen reader showing us examples and demos that highlighted some of the options and choices that the reader has available to them.

Related Resources

Tools mentioned in the webinar:

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EPUB Accessibility 101 (W)

EPUB Accessibility 101 Title Slide

EPUB Accessibility 101 Title SlideIn our series of free weekly webinars October 6th saw a session focused on EPUB Accessibility. Our speakers showed everyone what happens under the hood of an EPUB file to support accessibility and managed to demystify some of the technicalities surrounding EPUB.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Rachel Comerford, Macmillan Learning
  • Tzviya Siegman, J. Wiley and Sons

Session Overview

What is EPUB? The Basics

Rachel Comerford took us through some of the “acronym soup” that makes up an EPUB file, namely:

  • Mimetype – which tells the reading system being used that this is an EPUB file
  • META-INF – which points to the file and allows the reading system to find it
  • OEPS-OPS – containing the content and everything needed to display that content (including the CSS which describes how the book should look)

What is EPUB? Focus on HTML

The text of an EPUB publication is written in HyperText Mark-Up Language (HTML) and Tzviya Siegman explained to us the importance for accessibility of the native semantic elements that can be conveyed within the HTML. Every element in the HTML mark-up contains a meaning and greatly assists with content navigation and order of reading layout.

What is EPUB? Focus on DPUB-ARIA and epub:type

Sometimes content is more complex than the available HTML elements can cope with and Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) provide another way of applying semantic meaning to content i.e. it describes a content component to the reader. DPUB-ARIA specifically maps to the epub:type vocabulary for EPUB content.

Navigating EPUBS

Rachel explained that all EPUB packages contain a navigation document (within the OPF file) from which the Table of Contents (TOC) is generated. The TOC is crucial for accessibility and together with headings, it generally echoes the familiar structure of printed content.

Links are also valuable for accessibility and it’s important to choose a reading system that exposes internal and external links to the reader.

The Value of EPUB Metadata

Also found in the OPF file, EPUB metadata provides information about the accessibility features and potential limitations of the content. Rachel urged us all to make as much use of metadata features as possible, not least via The Accessibility Summary section where the publisher can provide specific information for readers in a non-technical way. See the slide deck attached to this overview for a terrific example of this type of summary provided by Macmillan Learning.

Related Resources

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DAISY Information Sharing Day

Photo of a mobile phone showing "DAISY Information Sharing Day Thursday Oct 14th"

Photo of a mobile phone showing "DAISY Information Sharing Day Thursday Oct 14th"On Thursday October 14th we will be hosting a free information sharing day via Zoom, bringing you updates on a broad range of projects and activities from DAISY and our member organizations. We’ve divided the session into 3 parts to enable easy access to the topics you find of most interest.

You only need to register once for free to attend any part of the webinar.

Part A: Update on DAISY Projects

Starting at 1200 Universal Time (500 PDT, 800 EDT, 1300 BST, 1400 CEST)

Welcome

Maarten Verboom, President of the DAISY Consortium

DAISY Projects highlights

Update on various projects driven by the DAISY Consortium.

Avneesh Singh, DAISY Consortium

DAISY Pipeline case study

How NLB is leveraging the DAISY Pipeline for production of accessible content.

Jostein Austvik Jacobsen, NLB

DAISY reading experience in your Browser!

What if your favorite DAISY full text full audio or EPUB Media Overlays titles start working on your favorite browser? This will be a game changer not only for making reading more convenient but will also empower the reach of accessible reading to parts of the world which cannot invest in reading solutions due to resource constraints. This presentation will provide a glimpse of the research being done in this direction.

Marisa DeMeglio, DAISY Consortium

Responding to COVID with DAISY Online Training

Dipendra Manocha, DAISY Consortium

Preparing for the revolution in born accessible publishing in Europe

Reporting on the first year of the DAISY European Inclusive Publishing initiative.

Thomas Kahlisch, dzb

Improving access to music braille

Update on the achievements of the DAISY Braille Music project in 2021, and next steps.

Sarah Morley Wilkins, Project Manager, DAISY Consortium

Part B: Updates from DAISY Members

Starting at 1300 Universal Time (600 PDT, 900 EDT, 1400 BST, 1500 CEST)

DAISY in Egypt

This cooperation initiative raises awareness of the challenges encountered by persons with print disabilities in the COVID-19 Pandemic situation, promotes the provision of accessible publications such as DAISY as well as encourage the acceleration of Egyptian Ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty.

Hiroshi Kawamura, ATDO, Japan

Digital braille innovations

Two major braille libraries share will experiences and plans as they expand digital braille reading options for their users.

John Brown, NLS, USA, Dave Williams and Paul Porter, RNIB, UK

Voice Assistants and DAISY Online

Connecting Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to DAISY Online.

Daniel Ainasoja, Pratsam, Finland

Sign language video in digital publications

How Kenyan education content organization eKitabu is creating early grade reading materials for deaf readers.

Georgine Auma, Digital Literacy Trust, Kenya

Leveraging Machine Learning with Page AI

Bookshare’s latest developments in advanced artificial intelligence for better book conversion.

Brad Turner, Benetech, USA

Part C: Accessible Mainstream Publishing

Starting at 1400 Universal Time (700 PDT, 1000 EDT, 1500 BST, 1600 CEST)

The born accessible movement has been gaining momentum in different parts of the world. We will share information how the DAISY Consortium, members and partners are accelerating the global movement towards publish, discover, buy and borrow accessible publications.

We will highlight the new standards and guidelines raising the bar for accessibility that are aligned with the EU Accessibility Directive, facilitating search and discovery, and will also provide a glimpse of the near future plans. And we will share how a DAISY led initiative helps developers improve their eBook reading systems for people with print disabilities, and guides consumers and institutional purchasers to select the solutions that meet their accessibility requirements.

Avneesh Singh, George Kerscher, Richard Orme, DAISY Consortium; Charles LaPierre, Benetech, USA; Erin Kirchner-Lucas, RedShelf, USA; Gregorio Pellegrino, Fondazione LIA; Stacy Ray, VitalSource, USA

Register now to attend any part of this webinar.

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User Experience Guide for Displaying Accessibility Metadata

Logo the the publishing community group

W3C publishing community group logoThe Publishing Community Group at W3C has announced the release of the report, A User Experience Guide for Accessibility Metadata this week and we welcome this additional resource for the publishing industry. Written and designed to be used by all areas of the publishing workflow at any technical level, this guide neatly explains the absolute need for accessibility metadata and why it is so important for readers who may have accessibility requirements. Gregorio Pellegrino (The LIA Foundation) , co-editor of the guide makes the point:

On one hand more and more digital publications are published natively accessible, on the other hand more and more local legislations require to inform the user about the accessibility features of publishing products (before buying or borrowing an ebook). For this reason it becomes more and more strategic to show the accessibility metadata: the risk is that each platform displays the information in a different way. These documents are meant to be a starting point to offer the end user the information in a user-friendly and consistent way across different vendors.

Carefully differentiating between the metadata that you might find within an EPUB package and the metadata that accompanies the book, the ONIX, the guide gives clear examples and technical instructions for both, helping the metadata provider standardize their approach.

Metadata found either inside a digital publication or in the corresponding external record may have important accessibility information that will help end users find and determine if this publication can meet their specific accessibility needs.

The report has 2 parts: Principles and Techniques which will be of enormous help to distributors and libraries alike as they endeavour to make accessible content discoverable as well as readers themselves as they search for content that suits their requirements. We are excited to see how accessibility metadata within the industry improves as these guidelines are adopted.

Charles La Pierre (Benetech), co-editor of this report comments:

Over four years ago the EPUB Accessibility 1.0 Conformance and Discovery Requirements for EPUB Publications specification was created, and now we close the loop on the ability to “discover” these conformant EPUBs. The release of this guide marks an important milestone in the discovery of certified accessible books, and I am thrilled be a part of this effort to aid libraries and bookstores on how to display this very technical information in a user-friendly way.

Staff at The DAISY Consortium were integral to the development of these guidelines with Avneesh Singh, DAISY COO, leading the accessibility task force. Congratulations to everyone involved in the development of the guidelines!

Links

The following links will take you to the report and other resources which we recommend:

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Ways People with Print Disabilities Read (W)

Title slide for Ways People with Print Disabilities Read webinar

Title slide for Ways People with Print Disabilities Read webinar

In our series of free weekly webinars September 22nd saw a session focused on user experience and how people with print disabilities read and the common challenges people encounter. 

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Joseph Polizzotto, Wake Technical Community College
  • Robin Spinks, RNIB
  • Amy Salmon, Accessibility Expert

Session Overview

Richard Orme introduced the session and explained that today we would be concentrating on 3 types of print disability: learning difficulties, low vision and blindness.

Reading with Learning Disabilities

Joseph Polizzotto is an accessibility technologist with many years of experience assisting learners and staff in education. This has given him a unique insight into what it is like to read with a print disability, with the following comments typical of students with learning disabilities:

  • “I spend over 6 hours to read one chapter.”​
  • “I don’t remember anything that I have read.”​
  • “I totally missed the word *not* and inferred the opposite meaning of the author.”​
  • “I have to work much harder than others.”​
  • “I know a lot more than I can demonstrate.”​

A learning disability is a neuro-developmental condition that interferes with learning basic skills such as reading, writing or math and it is key for students to be able to develop reading strategies to cope with the challenges of learning.

Reading strategies are at the core of coping

Strategies such as question asking (SQ3R method), note taking, colour coding and creating patterns within the text all serve to simplify the task.

In addition to these Joseph highlighted some other techniques which encourage learning and retention of information for students:

  • Memorization to help with long term storage of information (apps like Quizlet have flashcard tools)
  • Mind Mapping also help with retention and breaks information down into well organized chunks
  • Screen Masking helps to avoid the distraction that surrounding text can create
  • Text Adjustments help provide the optimum environment (font, text size, line spacing)
  • Read Aloud helps learners stay focused and this is particularly useful with complex content
  • Audio using human narration

Reading with Low Vision

Robin Spinks is an accessibility expert and reader with low vision. Common challenges that people with low vision encounter include:

  • Focusing on text (acuity)​
  • Reduced contrast sensitivity​
  • Glare (photo sensitivity/photophobia)​
  • Reduced field of vision​
  • Sensitivity to movement​
  • Perceptual differences​
  • Visual fatigue and changing vision​
  • Contextual factors​

He presented a very revealing set of images giving us a glimpse which emulate what is like to read with a variety of conditions (cataracts, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration).

Readers with low vision may wish to take advantage of the following features to improve the reading experience:

  • Adjust font size​
  • Choice of fonts​
  • Color modifications​
  • Line spacing adjustments​
  • Read aloud or Speak Screen ​
  • Combining strategies for low vision reading

combining these with some of the more specific usability features available with particular platforms

Reading without Vision

Amy Salmon is an accessibility expert and legally blind. She began her presentation by explaining that many readers who are legally blind are not necessarily completely without all vision.

Many readers without functional vision choose to read with a screen reader. These are software applications that convert information typically conveyed on screen into audio using text to speech, and many screen readers also support braille displays.

In a recorded video George Kerscher gave us a demo of the NVDA screen reader on the Thorium ebook reader, showing some of the basic controls which allow access to content and navigation within the document.

Refreshable braille displays can be used in conjunction with a screen reader to show braille characters typically using an electro-mechanical device to raise pins creating braille cells creating letters and words.

In order to make sure that content can be properly navigated by a screen reader and refreshable braille display its essential that digital content is correctly structured and includes:

  • Table of Contents​
  • Headings​
  • Descriptive images and links​
  • Tables which are correctly formatted​
  • Lists​
  • Video with audio descriptive/transcript​
  • Metadata including document language​

Inclusion of these elements vastly improves the reading experience for people without vision.

Related Resources

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The Essentials for Accessible Publishing in 2021 (W)

opening slide: The Essentials for Accessible Publishing in 2021

open slide: The Essentials for Accessible Publishing in 2021In our series of free DAISY webinars July 21st saw a session focused on The Essentials for Accessible Publishing in 2021. This webinar was held in partnership with the UK Publishers Association, Accessibility Action Group (AAG) in place of their annual in person seminar at The London Book fair.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Stacy Scott (RNIB), chair of the PA Accessibility Action Group—guest host.
  • Dr Agata Mrva-Montoya (Sydney University Press)
  • Laura Brady (House of Anansi)
  • Richard Orme (DAISY)
  • Graham Bell (EDItEUR)
  • Daniella Levy-Pinto (NNELS)

Session Overview

In keeping with previous AAG seminars this webinar promised to be a quick fire journey through this huge topic with lots of speakers, experts in their fields and plenty of take homes for our delegates. Stacy Scott introduced the topic and our first speaker Dr. Agata Mrva-Montoya briefly explained the areas that would be covered.

Advocacy and Policy

Agata briefly took us through the results of an insightful survey conducted in Australia this year,  encouraging us to ensure that in-house advocacy is in place accompanied by a clear and thorough accessibility policy so that “publishers can produce born accessible publications themselves”. Her presentation included an extremely useful overview of how to put together and effective accessibility policy and areas that should be taken into account. Publishers shouldn’t forget that this policy together with their overall approach to accessibility requires regular review and should be cognisant of technical standards and provisions for procurement.

 Content Workflows

Laura Brady gave us a tour of the various workflow routes to accessible EPUB, emphasising the need for culture change in-house to effect these workflow options and stressing that “buy-in throughout the chain is key to the successful production of accessible content.” Lots of useful resources and options to consider including, WordToEPUB, InDesign workflows and XML workflows (the head of the workflow food chain).

Tools and Solutions

Richard Orme continued Laura’s workflow presentation with a look at post-export tools for validation and conformance checking of content. In particular he highlighted EPUBCheck, Ace by DAISY, Ace SMART, The Accessible Publishing Knowledge Base and the Inclusive Publishing hub, urging everyone to take a look at the latter and sign up for the inclusive publishing newsletter at the very least!

Accessibility Metadata

Graham Bell gave us a clear overview of why it is so important to include accessibility metadata at all stages of content production. “If you optimize the accessibility of your books, then your book metadata should reflect that.” he focused on the 3 types of metadata that should be included: metadata included in web pages, metadata included within the EPUB package and accessibility metadata about the book which is embedded in the ONIX. All three serve quite different purposes and should be considered.

Consumer Testing and Feedback

Daniella Levy-Pinto impressed upon us the importance of testing content, using the tools that Richard spoke about and via manual testing using testers with lived experience. It is a necessary and vital part of your content workflow and must take into account the various types of assistive technology that may be used in order to access published works. “Assistive Technology provides opportunities for print disabled readers to access content and its important for publishers to understand this technology and to test their content with it.” Talking us through the testing process, Daniella showed us how an accessibility testing process with user feedback improves awareness and communication amongst employees, consumers and other end users.

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Memories of Garth Conboy – A True Giant in Digital Publishing

Photo of Garth Conboy

By George Kerscher
Photo of Garth Conboy
I had the great pleasure of knowing Garth Conboy for more than twenty years. We first met in 1999 when the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) organized meetings to work on a new digital publishing standard. We continued to work on these standards for the next 22 years together, until his passing on June 29, 2021. Garth was integral in every aspect of the Open Ebook Publication Structure (OEB) which evolved into today’s EPUB Standard. He co-chaired the development of almost all the specifications at the OEBF, the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), and most recently the W3C, where he was a master at building consensus. I can recall him saying, “Cave early and often.”

On the organization side, Garth held a Board seat for many years. Most recently, he was nominated by the IDPF Board as Chairman where I, as President, relied on him enormously to lead the Board activities. He was a driving force, and I knew I could count on him in every aspect of organizational leadership. He never let any of us down.

On the accessibility front, Garth was always committed to ensuring persons with disabilities would be able to benefit from the standards we developed. At his behest, Google joined the DAISY Consortium as a Friend, and always found time for our many questions. Garth’s unwavering support for DAISY and our mission was immensely important and we received a Google Impact Challenge grant from the charitable arm of Google. In 2019, Garth organized for Google to host the DAISY Consortium’s Board meeting, and leaders in the libraries serving persons with disabilities from all over the world found him to be a gracious host.

Garth had a magical personality that manifested itself in standards working group sessions, in Board meetings, and over dinner with a good bottle of wine. This magical personality wove together friendliness, humor, and rock-solid strategic and technical thinking. This giant of a man will be sorely missed in the digital publishing arena, and in our personal lives. We do have our memories, and he will remain a giant of a friend in my memory forever.

Garth Conboy Obituary on Dignity Memorial

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