November 2017: Digital Book Conference, Paris

The French Publishers Association, Synidcat National de l’Edition, is holding its annual digital publishing event dedicated to the strategic development of the publishing sector in the digital age. Of particular interest is the session delivered by EDRLab and industry colleagues on EPUB 3 for an Excellent Reading Experience. For registration and program information visit http://www.sne.fr/evenement_sne/assises-du-23-novembre-2017/

Date: November 23rd, 2017

Venue: Amphithéâtre Novotel Tour Eiffel, 61 quai de Grenelle 75015 Paris

When: 9.30am


November 2017: Inclusive Design 24

November 15th to 16th, 2017

A Free 24-Hour Online Community Event On Accessibility organized by The Paciello Group. Registration is free and all sessions will be streamed publicly on YouTube. Full program information is available at https://www.inclusivedesign24.org

Date: 15th – 16th November, 2017

Where: Online

When: 7pm UTC

November 2017: Accessing Higher Ground

November 13th to 17th, 2017

This 5 day conference focuses on the creation of accessible media and information resources and legal and policy issues within education, business and public settings.

This conference is intended for:

  • individuals who need to design or provide accessible Web, media, information resources and technology in the academic and business environment;
  • faculty and administrators interested in ADA & Section 508 compliance;
  • faculty and other professional interested in incorporating Universal Design content or UDL into
    curriculum;
  • faculty and other professionals who wish to ensure that their curriculum is accessible.

For further information and registration details visit: http://accessinghigherground.org

Date: November 13th – November 17th, 2017

Venue: Westminster, Colorado, USA

 

 

December 2017 BISG Making Information Pay: Higher Education

December 8th, 2017

Making Information Pay: Higher Education is an extension of BISG’s signature annual event that will focus on the needs and developments in the Higher Education side of publishing. This year’s dual focus will be on education technology and the impact of accessibility initiatives on higher-education content delivery. For registration and program information see http://bisg.org/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=891617&group=

Date: Friday, December 8th, 2017

Venue: Macmillan Learning, 1 New York Plaza, New York, NY

When: 1pm

ebookcraft, Toronto

March 21st to 22nd, 2018

ebookcraft is a two-day conference dedicated to ebook production—if you’re looking for a mix of practical tips and forward-thinking inspiration, you won’t want to miss it. In 2018, the main conference day will take place on Thursday, March 22, with an optional workshop day for the #eprdctn crowd on Wednesday, March 21.

Of particular interest to us here at Inclusive Publishing is the session

Is Your EPUB Accessible? Put it to the Test!

Romain Deltour (software developer, The DAISY Consortium) and Matt Garrish (Editor, Digital Standards and Process, The DAISY Consortium) will demonstrate the new Ace by DAISY, open source, EPUB accessibility checking tool.

With several sessions devoted to accessibility and specific focus on inclusive publishing throughout the conference make sure you don’t miss out!

Date:

March 21-22, 2018

Venue:

MaRS Discovery District, Toronto, Canada

Learn More:

For program information and registration details (early bird pricing is open through January 2018) visit: http://techforum.booknetcanada.ca.

 

Introducing ACE: Accessibility Checker for EPUB

Photograph of 4 ace playing cardsThis was a guest post for EPUBSecrets by Romain Deltour, lead developer of the Ace software tool, and re-posted here with the kind permission of Laura Brady, editor of EPUBSecrets.

The mission of ebook developers and publishers is a pretty darn cool and noble one, if you ask me: crafting pure information, pure knowledge, so that it can be readable by everyone. Yes, Everyone. As Billy Gregory playfully put it on Twitter in 2015, “when UX doesn’t consider ALL users, shouldn’t it be known as Some Users’ Experience, or… #SUX?”. If some people are left out, SUX. Well, we don’t want that in our EPUBs! The alternative is of course truly inclusive publishing, where content is accessible to all.

“When UX doesn’t consider ALL users, shouldn’t it be known as Some Users’ Experience, or… #SUX?”

Producing accessible ebooks, however, comes with its own challenges. Sometimes, accessibility is just underestimated and dashed off. Other times, goodwill may be damped down by perceived technical complexity. In any case, it is — sadly — far too easy to let some inaccessible content slip through a production workflow.

Wouldn’t it be useful to have some tools to help spot the most obvious accessibility errors, so that you can more easily work your way towards inclusive publishing? That’s the idea behind Ace, an accessibility checker for EPUB developed by the DAISY Consortium and currently in public beta testing.

Ace, in a nutshell

Ace is an open source tool that can help with evaluating conformance to the EPUB Accessibility 1.0 specification. Ace actually does two things: it runs some automated checks (and will report obvious accessibility violations), and it also extracts some data that can be used in a later manual inspection process.

Ace is usable as a command line tool, or can be integrated in larger software via a Javascript or HTTP API. Ace can create reports both in a machine-readable format (JSON-LD), or as a human-friendly HTML document.

“Ace is an open source tool that can help with evaluating conformance to the EPUB Accessibility 1.0 specification.”

Automated checks

When it comes to automated checking, it is very important to understand that a tool can only detect a limited set of accessibility requirements. Steve Faulkner, W3C HTML editor and well-known accessibility expert, for instance recently mentioned the figure of 30% of WCAG 2.0 criteria being able to be automatically verified. Trying to report more can result in a report riddled with false-positives and bloated information, which can be counter-productive.

In Ace, we’re trying to adopt a conservative approach and only report true and confirmed violations. Under the hood, to check an EPUB’s HTML content documents, Ace notably relies on aXe, a high-quality Web accessibility checker by Deque Systems. On top of these WCAG-related checks, Ace also runs a few EPUB-specific checks, for instance to check the presence of accessibility metadata. When a violation is found, Ace will point to DAISY’s accessible publishing knowledge base (curated by Matt Garrish).

Data extraction

In addition to the automated checks, Ace extracts some data that is intended to be useful for manual accessibility inspection. For instance, Ace can report the outline computed from the HTML headings (HTML elements h1 to h6) alongside the ToC from the Navigation Document, so that a person can check that they are consistent. Ace also extracts the list of the EPUB’s images and graphics along with their associated accessibility descriptions, and renders them in a consolidated table for easier review.

Again, automated checks cannot give the full picture, and by extracting relevant data Ace intends to prepare for the later stages in the process.

When to use Ace?

Fixing inaccessible content can be a costly operation. Imagine that you’re building a house: would you consider piercing the windows after having raised the walls and decorated with wallpaper, or would you rather consider it at build time? The example may sound trite, but it’s really what is at stake for accessibility. The well-known mantra “test early, test often” totally applies. The sooner you identify an issue, the easier and cheaper it is to fix. Accessibility testing doesn’t have to be put off to the QA stages down the line; it is a sane practice to also test during development.

What’s the plan, and how can I help?

Ace is currently in beta testing phase, and we’re eager to get feedback from technical experts in ebook production. Please be aware it may have some rough edges and …erm… bugs too (wouldn’t life be a bit bland without them?). We’re also looking forward to any usability suggestions or feature requests (on both Ace or the knowledge base). Feel more than welcome to use our issue tracker, or the beta testing feedback form.

We intend to release version 1.0 later this year. There’s already a bunch of improvements on our radar, including better configurability, more EPUB-specific rules, basic support for EPUB 2, localization, integration with EpubCheck,… Stay tuned! For news on Ace release updates (as well as all areas related to accessibility and publishing), don’t hesitate to sign up to the Inclusive Publishing newsletter, and follow @InclusivePub on Twitter.


Romain Deltour is a software developer and accessibility expert for the DAISY Consortium, and is a firm believer in the Web’s potential to enable a truly inclusive publishing ecosystem. When he’s not coding or attending W3C conference calls, he can usually be seen playing with one of his three lovely kids. Sometimes, they happen to enjoy the conference calls too…but shh!
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Accessibility: Ensuring that Edtech Systems Work Together to Serve All Students

The attached article was written by Rick Johnson, Vice President of Product Strategy at VitalSource Technologies LLC, and published in the EDUCAUSEreview on September 25th. Key takeaways, as identified by EDUCAUSEreview, are:

  • As course materials are increasingly deconstructed and customized to specific learners, ensuring accessibility and interoperability of edtech tools and systems is crucial.
  • The next generation digital learning environment offers an ecosystem to provide this cohesion and ensure the accessibility of learning materials.
  • When vendors follow standards such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines,their components support individual accessibility and contribute to enhancing the accessibility of the whole system.
  • Ultimately, the real-world test is not how each of the parts conform to a standard, but how all of the parts work together to provide a highly functional system for users.

For Rick’s full article please visit https://er.educause.edu/articles/2017/9/accessibility-ensuring-that-edtech-systems-work-together-to-serve-all-students

Announcing Ace Beta Release

Announcing the First Beta Release of Ace, by DAISY, the Accessibility Checker for EPUB.

The DAISY Consortium are delighted to announce the first beta release of their new open source software tool – Ace – an accessibility conformance checking tool for EPUB 3 publications. This new tool will provide clarity for the publishing industry where accessibility can mean many things to many people. Based on the requirements specified in the new EPUB Accessibility Conformance and Discovery Specification 1.0, Ace has been designed to check packaged or unpackaged EPUB 3 files at any point in the publishing workflow process.

Specifically, Ace:

  • runs automated accessibility tests on EPUB content documents
  • extracts the publications metadata, and checks accessibility-related metadata
  • separates various document outlines (the Navigation Documents, ToC, the HTML etc) for side-by-side comparison
  • presents all the EPUB’s images and graphics and their associated accessibility descriptions in a consolidated table, for easier review
  • consolidates the various content features to facilitate human-driven accessibility audits
  • can be run as a command line tool, or integrated as a Javascript node module, or driven by an HTTP API

Reports on conformance can be output at all stages of the publishing process as user friendly HTML documents or machine readable JSON-LD data. This type of early feedback is particularly helpful with future conformance issues and for training in-house employees to include accessibility within their workflows. Third party suppliers can be required to implement Ace checking on EPUB files and provide reports for their publishers. The appropriate metadata will be available for content providers to announce their subsequent conformance.

This beta release is actively seeking feedback from technical experts in the publishing industry who are happy engaging with EPUB3 code and working through a command line interface.

Please note, this early release tool is testing the examination and content presentation processes, and through feedback the tool will be refined with a second round of beta testing, with a final mainstream release scheduled towards the end of the year.

Technical experts can get involved with the Ace Getting Started Guide.

For more news and information all areas related to accessibility and publishing, including Ace release updates, sign up to the Inclusive Publishing mailing list, and follow @InclusivePub on Twitter.

 

November 2017: W3C Publishing Summit

November 9th to 10th, 2017

The web is the universal publishing platform. Register for the inaugural W3C Publishing Summit and learn how web technologies are shaping publishing today, tomorrow, and beyond.

This summit will show how web technologies are making publishing more accessible, more global, and more efficient and effective. You’ll learn about things you should be doing now to improve your products and processes; developments coming soon that you need to be aware of; and what is coming next in web publications, EPUB, mobile, and the overall Web Platform that can support your workflows on everything from today’s browsers, tablets and smartphones to tomorrow’s environments.

There will be a specific focus on accessibility within the session “Accessibility in Publishing and W3C” presented by Romain Deltour, George Kerscher and Avneesh Singh from the DAISY Consortium and Judy Brewer from W3C.

The W3C Publishing Summit will be co-located with W3C’s main annual meeting, TPAC, so attendees will have the opportunity to network with Web developers and technical experts, including access to a solutions showcase demo area.

Date: November 9-10, 2017

Venue: Hyatt Regency, San Fransisco Airport

Learn more: visit the W3C Publishing Summit site for further information and registration details

October 2017: All you always wanted to know about Accessibility

The Federation of European Publishers is hosting an accessibility meeting at the Frankfurt Bookfair entitled: All you Always Wanted to Know about Accessibility. Advising FEP at this meeting will be two #a11y experts: Cristina Mussinelli from the LIA Foundation and Luc Audrain from Hachette. For further information on the extensive agenda please contact Roberta Balduzzi at FEP – fbalduzzi@fep-fee.eu.

Date: 12th October 2017, 15.00-16.30

Venue: Congress Center 1, Frankfurt Buchmesse

Who should attend: Publishers and Developers attending the Bookfair

Learn more: for contact and agenda details – http://www.fep-fee.eu/All-you-always-wanted-to-know