Free Webinar: Describing Images in Publications—Guidance, Best Practices and the Promise of Technology

June 17th, 2020

The DAISY Consortium has announced the launch of a series of free weekly webinars on accessible publishing and reading in response to the multiple challenges being faced by conferences around the world due to Coronavirus, as well as feedback from the wider DAISY community expressing interest in online training resources.

Authoring quality image descriptions are essential for accessibility. But the actual process of authoring an alternate description can be quite tricky, especially for complex content, graphically rich publications and vast back catalogues which need to be updated.

This webinar will:

  • discuss best practices for authoring image descriptions for publications.
  • hear from a range of publishers how they are tackling the challenge for new and backlist titles.
  • examine what AI and image recognition can currently offer and what the future might bring.


June 17, 2020


Online via Zoom or via the DAISY YouTube channel afterwards

Learn More

Sign up for the June 17th webinar

For information on the whole DAISY webinar series on offer you can register your interest on the Webinar Information Page

Leveraging InDesign for Accessible EPUB Creation (W)

Leveraging InDesign for Accessible EPUB Creation opening slideIn our series of free weekly webinars May 20th saw a session focused on Leveraging InDesign for Accessible EPUB Creation. If InDesign is part of your book production toolchain, then this webinar gave an invaluable overview of how to get cleaner, more accessible reflowable EPUB output. This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar


  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Laura Brady, House of Anansi Press
  • Michael Murphy, Adobe

Session Overview

This was a webinar in 4 parts with top tips and hints for the ebook designer to ensure that their exported EPUBs are as accessible as possible:

Establishing Structure With Styles

Michael Murphy opened the webinar with an overview of the importance of styles within InDesign, the first crucial step in file preparation and one which covers approximately 70% of accessibility related tasks, if properly and consistently used. Using paragraph and character styles enables you to achieve as clean and semantically rich accessible EPUB as possible—packing information into the formatting of your file via styles ensures that your EPUB is off to a flying start.

Edit All Export Tags

Export tagging of your styles avoids HTML cleanup later and Laura Brady showed  everyone how to successfully edit tags so that the HTML is as precise and semantic as possible:

Let the HTML do the accessibility heavy lifting

With a little nudging InDesign will perform and Laura demo’d various screens with us during the webinar

Image Output and Alt Text

In order to achieve an end result where the order, appearance and alt text of images are as intended in the final EPUB, Michael showed us various settings needed to ensure accessibility and good reflow of images.

Semantics and Post-Export CleanUp

Laura explained that InDesign has a full set of semantics built in and how we should think of epub:type as the scaffolding on which we can build ARIA roles. If you are passionate about accessibility then you should think of the InDesign Export EPUB as a starting point and be prepared to clean up the file with Laura’s list of specific cleanup tasks.

Related Resources

Discover the other webinars we’re running!

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2020: A Publisher’s “At Home” Toolkit & Quiz

Logo for Global Accessibility Awareness DayGAAD takes place on May 21 this year and we’d like to encourage all our readers to take part so that we can build awareness in our industry and play our part to increase the availability of your digital content to people with print disabilities, particularly during this challenging time when many of you are working from home. If your organization has an accessibility advocate then this is their chance to build awareness and co-ordinate activities that your teams may be able to take part in whilst self-isolating.

In 2019 there were some exciting events surrounding GAAD and we have put together a few ideas to help you organize something this year. It might be an event surrounding awareness building and advocacy or it might be a more technical dive into what makes an accessible ebook. Whatever you choose, please send us the details so that we can tell others about your good work and build on this for future events. Contact us here.

We have lots of ideas to get you started:

Take Our Accessibility Quiz!

How much do you know about ebook accessibility? Try out our quiz, share it with colleagues and see who is really “in the know”.  This is just for fun, but you can find your score along with information about each of the questions after you finish. Easy to complete from home and very straightforward to include in a variety of activities that you may have planned. Good Luck!

The Inclusive Publishing GAAD Quiz

Awareness Building

You can easily do this from your home office so long as you and your team are online and communicating

  • Put together a blog piece in advance of GAAD. This will help to raise awareness amongst your colleagues about what GAAD is all about. We have resources and tools that you can include in your post to spark interest and encourage questions! A good place to start is our Introduction to Inclusive Publishing.
  • Check out your website: do you have an accessibility statement about your digital content? If not then perhaps you can set about writing something on GAAD. Have a look at the work of ASPIRE which is all about increasing the effectiveness of your organizational accessibility statement
  • Hold an online social event to promote your support of accessible publishing. Set up a “party” on zoom to discuss awareness issues and next steps for your company when you return to the workplace. (Zoom offers the most accessible online conferencing experience we have found).

User Experience

GAAD is a great chance to find out for yourself what it’s like to be a print disabled reader. You can put together all manner of sessions to focus on this but here are a few ideas:

  • Go mouseless for an hour—unplug your mouse and only use your keyboard (tab/shift tab, arrow keys, enter and spacebar) to navigate and interact with content.
  • Experience reading using assistive technology – try 10 minutes with a screen reader for example
  • You may wish to set up a UX session so that your colleagues can experience accessibility features such as Voice Over.
  • Try your hand at writing image descriptions—collect a few images from the content that you publish together with some contextual information. See how your colleagues fare in writing alt text! This could be a fun challenge that would be easy or organise for those of you working from home.

Accessible EPUB

  • GAAD for Geeks! If you can it would be very helpful if your technical ebook developers can run an online demonstration of what makes an EPUB accessible. The benefits of using EPUB 3 are significant for accessibility and a short presentation about this would greatly increase understanding of the technical advantages of building a11y in from the very start of the content creation process. See our top tips page for some guidance on this.
  • Ask the Expert! EPUB for non-technical teams. Try running something similar for your non-technical teams. They may not need to know the technical details but will appreciate and understand information on how your content production teams are handling accessibility for mainstream product. Our EPUB resources pages for publishers will be able to give you some pointers on this.


Encourage your colleagues to watch one of our free webinars available on the DAISY YouTube channel. We have many different sessions available already and lots more planned for the future so this would be a terrific time to ask your co-workers to choose something new and interesting. If you host a discussion following a webinar viewing you could initiate some interesting debate which we would love to hear about.

Other Events We’ve Heard About

Some of our amazing inclusive Publishing Partners have organized events for GAAD 2020 and we have listed those we know about below…please keep us updated if there are any others planned:

  • Red Shelf: are running an educational session about the accessible creation and distribution of Open Educational Resources. Register for this RedShelf event here to join at 1pm CST on Thursday 21 May
  • The LIA Foundation: are holding two online presentations entitled—Toward an accessible publishing ecosystem & Offering services through smartspeakers:
    challenges and opportunities of a new kind of UI—both on Friday 22 May, you can register at the LIA Accessibility Days event page

Easy Access to Books and Articles Through a Smart Speaker (W)

Access to reading through a smart speaker opening slideIn our series of free weekly webinars May 13th saw a session focused on reading experiences via Smart Speakers and how this has been a game-changer for many already.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar


  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • JoAnna Hunt—Amazon
  • Kiran Kaja—Google
  • Scott White—NFB Newsline
  • Thomas Bryan & Geraldine Lewis—BLVNZ
  • Sarah Chin & Jarek Beksa—Sonnar

Session Overview

JoAnna Hunt opened this session with an excellent overview of work at Amazon on Alexa, Kindle and Audible and how Alexa can support reading experiences via both. Alexa has the ability to read any book from the kindle library in multiple languages and in local accents, at various speeds. Sync’d perfectly with your other devices, you can easily navigate and pick up where you left off. In addition Audible offers professionally narrated audio books directly through Alexa with the same features available as with your kindle.

Kiran Kaja introduced us to the Google Assistant—your own personal google which will help you across all of your google devices. Google Play Books allows the reader to listen to audio books on speakers, smart displays and on your mobile phone and will read web pages and news when commanded. Available in 42 languages and with speed adjustment features, the Google Assistant offers a multi-faceted reading experience.

Scott White from The National Federation of the Blind introduced us to NFB Newsline and gave us a terrific live demo of how to read the New York Times via Alexa, using Newsline, at various speeds and in several voices. Newsline offers the opportunity to simply ask Alexa to email  a particular article.

Thomas Bryan & Geraldine Lewis gave us an overview of work with smart speakers at Blind Low Vision New Zealand where they have recognized the potential of Alexa to create a library service. Their usability study indicated a number of key findings highlighting the sheer simplicity of the interface and the high level of connectivity that can be achieved for new online users. Support for this new service has been overwhelming with extremely positive feedback.

Sarah Chin & Jarek Beksa, from Sonnar Interactive, were instrumental in helping the team from BLVNZ achieve their goal.  The Sonnar Library offers an all-in-one solution for accessible reading services with a reader, a user and content management system and a content exchange solution that can work with any IT system. Their excellent  live demo ended with an offer for individuals and organizations to access their solution free of charge during the lockdown period.

This session really gave us an overview of how versatile and exciting smart speaker technology can be. Exciting times for anyone working in this field and for readers benefitting from this accessible reading experience.

Related Resources

Links mentioned in the webinar

Discover the other webinars we’re running!

How to Support the Work of The DAISY Consortium

Drawing of 2 hands shaking. The hands have words of mutual respect inscribed on them such as "connect, cooperate" etcWe have been busy recently and are grateful for the very positive feedback and terrific support that we’ve been receiving for our DAISY Webinars, held every Wednesday, in response to cancelled events and requests for more online resources.

Every week, hundreds of our readers from a staggering number of countries are registering to take part in our fully accessible webinar sessions, covering a large variety of subjects pertaining to inclusive publishing. The series has attracted a plethora of fabulous speakers and we have been overwhelmed with suggestions and requests for specific sessions in the future. The schedule is looking tightly packed with subjects that should be of particular interest to all of our readers and newsletter subscribers. 

We are delighted that so many of you are “tuning” in to these sessions and have subscribed to our monthly newsletter which we put together as an information service, free of charge and accessible for everyone. These, along with our free and open source tools for accessible publishing are just a few of the benefits that you are able to expect from The DAISY Consortium—our commitment to the publishing industry. 

If you would like to support us further then we would encourage you to consider our Inclusive Publishing Partner program. Our ground breaking work relies on the support of the industry and we are hoping to increase the number of publishing partners that we have so that we can continue to provide services and accessible publishing solutions. The IPP program includes some excellent benefits and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss these and other opportunities with you : free access to SMART, insider previews to future developments and expert support are just a few of the perks that IPP offers—check out the full list and join us!!

Free Webinar: European Accessibility Act—Considerations for the Publishing Industry and Benefits to Consumers Globally

June 10th, 2020

The DAISY Consortium has announced the launch of a series of free weekly webinars on accessible publishing and reading in response to the multiple challenges being faced by conferences around the world due to Coronavirus, as well as feedback from the wider DAISY community expressing interest in online training resources.

New accessibility legislation is being implemented across Europe which is likely to have broad implications for the publishing industry. This session will:

  • Introduce the legislation, outline its broad aims and timeline for implementation
  • Discuss the intended benefits consumers are likely to encounter throughout Europe and how these may have global implications
  • Highlight some of the considerations for publishers, retailers, technology companies and others involved in the industry
  • Offer practical advice for finding further information and following developments


June 10, 2020


Online via Zoom or via the DAISY YouTube channel afterwards

Learn More

Sign up for the June 10th webinar

For information on the whole DAISY webinar series on offer you can register your interest on the Webinar Information Page

Free Webinar: The Future of Accessible Publishing and Standards—Where Are We Going?

June 3rd, 2020

The DAISY Consortium has announced the launch of a series of free weekly webinars on accessible publishing and reading in response to the multiple challenges being faced by conferences around the world due to Coronavirus, as well as feedback from the wider DAISY community expressing interest in online training resources.

The EPUB 3 standard can support accessibility to a degree never seen before. It’s already the most popular and most accessible publishing standard, but can we do better?
This webinar will:

  • discuss where we currently are and some of the challenges we face
  • summarize what is planned in the near future and the impact it will have on accessible publishing
  • gaze into the crystal ball of publishing standards to explore where we might be headed longer term and what we might encounter along the path.


June 3, 2020


Online via Zoom or via the DAISY YouTube channel afterwards

Learn More

Sign up for the June 3rd webinar

For information on the whole DAISY webinar series on offer you can register your interest on the Webinar Information Page

Publishing, Accessibility, W3C Standards—Where Are We and How Did We Get Here? (W)

cover slide for Publishing, accessibility, W3C standards

In our series of free weekly webinars May 6th saw a session focused on publishing technology at the W3C, the EPUB eco-system, and baking in accessibility within digital content. Behind the scenes of any technology you will find that a significant amount of effort invested over many years has shaped where we are today. This webinar reflected on the EPUB 3 journey to become the most popular and most accessible digital publishing standard in the world.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar


  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Bill Kasdorf, Publishing Technology Partners
  • Luc Audrain, Inclusive Publishing Consultant (just retired from Hachette)
  • George Kerscher, The DAISY Consortium

Session Overview

Bill Kasdorf opened this webinar with an overview of book production workflows—the evolution of publishing technology has  enabled “accessibility to be more accessible than ever”. Today, every step of the workflow is digital and assistive technology benefits from the interoperability and open standards that are in play for digital files, systems and devices. Web technology is the fundamental basis for EPUB 3, giving publishers the opportunity to produce born accessible EPUB 3 as a standard output from their workflows. But Bill stressed that whilst this is possible:

You have to use the tech properly!

EPUB 3 doesn’t guarantee accessibility, rather it offers “accessibilityability”.

Luc Audrain walked us through a history of EPUB 3 which is now hosted within the Publishing@W3C organization who’s focus is on creating a global EPUB 3 ecosystem. The revision of the EPUB 3 spec and upgrade of EPUBCheck were the initial focus and now it is time to create the best EPUB 3 ecosystem for born accessible content, with tools such as EPUBCheck, Ace by DAISY and the EPUB 1.0 Accessibility specification.

George Kerscher spoke about integrating accessibility into all aspects of publishing and reading:

Accessibility is not a frosting spread on a cake; it must be baked in.

Authoring and publishing production software can integrate Ace by DAISY, the SMART tool and the DAISY Knowledge Base into their working practices and these have been built from DAISY’s years of experience and participation in digital publishing initiatives.

Alongside these tools and best practices, publishers need to take advantage of conformance and discovery metadata if they are to communicate the good work they are doing. The forthcoming User Experience Guide for accessibility metadata will help libraries and print disabled readers to buy born accessible EPUB 3 content and to have access at the same time, in the same format and at the same price as all other readers.

If you are interested in the future of EPUB and publishing standards then the second part of this webinar is worth registering for. The future of accessible publishing and standards – where are we going? will take place on June 3rd, 2020

Related Resources

Links mentioned in the webinar:

DPUB Summit 2020

June 1st to 12th, 2020

The annual Digital Publishing Summit organized by EDRLab, will, this year, happen online. The two days of conferences, panels, workshops and meetups have been transformed into a set of “à la carte” online interactions. This is a free event, composed of several elements including:

  1. Content published in advance so that participants can “be aware” of the context of each session they are interested in.
  2. Live streaming sessions during the event (15 to 20 sessions, one hour each), with textual interactions between the panelists and the audience.
  3. Recorded sessions for those who missed a live session.
  4. Debrief sessions after the event, i.e. interactive sessions targeting the publication of a position paper about an important topic discussed during one or more sessions.

As usual, we anticipate a number of sessions dedicated to ebook accessibility and we will update this page as this information becomes available


June 1-12, 2020



Learn More

EDRLab have published details of this year’s summit on their event page