Describing Images in Publications—Guidance, Best Practices and the Promise of Technology (W)

Describing Images Opening SlideIn our series of free weekly webinars June 17th saw a session focused onthe process of authoring quality image descriptions which are essential for accessibility.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Valerie Morrison—Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Charles La Pierre—Benetech
  • Gregorio Pellegrino—The LIA Foundation

Session Overview

Practical Tips and Advice for Writing Image Descriptions

Valerie Morrison gave us the benefit of her expertise to open this webinar giving our audience a list of best practice tips which can be applied to all image descriptions. These included:

  • summarize what you see to begin with in one general and informative sentence
  • keep your description neutral and informative
  • use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. Avoid hard line breaks.
  • avoid acronyms and symbols (remember a screen reader will be reading everything you include)
  • Work from general to specific to provide a framework for the listener
  • Think about providing information in multiple modalities to vary the experience
  • Make sure that the surrounding text does not already describe the image. Avoid overlap

Knowing how long a description should be and when to stop is also important and Valerie recommends keeping to approx 125 characters. It can be hard to restrict the length of a description but screen reader software has limits. If an image is simply a photograph of a person, for example, it may be that the name of that person will suffice (depending on the context). Simple graphics can usually be described in one sentence and, whilst this can be challenging, this makes it easier for the listener—you don’t want to overload them.

Valerie’s slides give lots of examples of all of these useful notes with guidance given on describing symbols, charts and graphs.

Resources

Charles La Pierre presented the work of the DIAGRAM Center and the various resources that it offers the publishing industry. The POET tool is an image description training tool which focuses on:

  • When to describe images—is the information contained within the image essential to understanding?
  • How to describe images
  • Practice describing images

The Diagrammar resource is a framework for making images and graphics accessible. This data model provides a structured, standard way for image description data to be modeled.

Using AI to Automate Image Description

Gregorio Pellegrino presented the recent Italian project testing AI tools within the publishing industry with the goal of producing born accessible content. Results from this project revealed that:

  • some tools are better than others at identifying certain types of images
  • while the image category can be identified, more work is required before image descriptions are reliably produced

Depending on how images are classified, depends on which tool should be used and the next phase of this project will look to define an all-embracing taxonomy for image classification. This will enable the creation of datasets for training.

Publisher Approaches

Richard Orme presented comments and thoughts from 4 publishers who kindly agreed to participate in this webinar. See the slides for their full thoughts and comments

Kogan Page

Current Practice—descriptions are outsourced to vendors as it was decided not to proceed with author descriptions. These vendors provide alt text and extended descriptions.

Advice—Develop guidelines for your vendors with a small library of examples. Make sure you control costs and spot check descriptions when submitted by vendors.

Macmillan Learning

Current Practice—image descriptions are produced by a number of sources: the author, outsourced alongside ebook creation, description specialists or in-house

Advice—Descriptions are content so the same rules apply, be careful with the length of your descriptions

John Wiley & Sons

Current Practice—Alt text is written by subject matter experts which goes through a QA process. In-house training is provided to ensure understanding of descriptions are used with AT.

Advice—Become familiar with different image concepts, the various types of descriptions and when to apply them. Remember that alt text is there to describe, not teach.

W.W. Norton

Current Practice—image descriptions are outsourced to specialists towards the end of production. All descriptions are checked in-house for which there is extensive training provided

Related Resources

Discover the other webinars we’re running!

WordToEPUB Tool Shortlisted for ALPSP Innovation in Publishing Award 2020

The Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) have announced today their list of finalists for the Innovation in Publishing Award 2020 and we are delighted to announce that the DAISY Consortium tool WordToEPUB has been shortlisted. This ground breaking new tool offers a free, simple and straightforward method of converting structured Word documents to valid and accessible EPUB files.

“Applications for the awards were open to any new development, product, service or project which is both innovative and of significant value to scholarly communication. The winners must demonstrate excellence in terms of originality, innovation, value to the community, utility and long-term viability.”

The winner of this exciting award will be announced in September and we would like to congratulate everyone involved in the development of WordToEPUB as well the other finalists who we are very proud to be shortlisted alongside.

Full details of the shortlist are available on the ALPSP Innovation Awards page

Free Webinar—Scaling Inclusion in the Transition to Remote Teaching

July 15th, 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.

Following the rapid transition to remote instruction, a sudden increase in digital content and reliance on distance learning modalities amplified many existing academic barriers for students with disabilities, low-income students, and first-generation students.

To better understand these access challenges in digital learning content, we will explore recent trends in accessibility data from 1000s of institutions around the world who are using the Blackboard A11y solution. The session will look at the immediate impact of student choice and access, accessibility related information which can empower academic leaders, tools for content remediation and resources which can help professional learning for faculty when designing inclusive remote teaching experiences.

Date

July 15, 2020

Venue

Online via Zoom or via the DAISY YouTube channel afterwards

Learn More

Sign up for the July 15th webinar

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

Free Webinar: The Accessible EPUB Ecosystem in Action—Following the Journey from Publisher to Student

July 8th, 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.

A considerable amount of work is required from multiple parties to ensure the smooth journey of born accessible publications from creation to consumption, especially in education where the content can be more complex and is often delivered through a Learning Management System.

This webinar will explore the considerations required at each stage, along with some of the common pitfalls to be avoided, to help ensure students have access to the content they need.

Date

July 8th, 2020

Venue

Online via Zoom or via the DAISY YouTube channel afterwards

Learn More

Sign up for the July 8th webinar

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

Free Webinar—A World Tour of Inclusive Publishing Initiatives

July 1st, 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.

Around the world a few countries and regions have created initiatives to encourage the adoption of inclusive publishing practices. Each area has similar information to impart, as well as a common objective to reach, but different strategies have been adopted on the route towards the ultimate goal of more publishers delivering born accessible publications.

This webinar brings together experts from around the world to discuss their different approaches to disseminate information and encourage inclusive publishing.

Date

July 1, 2020

Venue

Online via Zoom or via the DAISY YouTube channel afterwards

Learn More

Sign up for the July 1st webinar

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

The European Accessibility Act—Consideration for the Publishing Industry and Benefits to Consumers Globally (W)

Opening slide for the EU Accessibility Act webinarIn our series of free weekly webinars June 10th saw a session focused on the new European Accessibility Act and how we might approach this as an industry.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Inmaculda Placencia Porrero—European Commission
  • Anne Bergman—Federation of European Publishers
  • Cristina Mussinelli—Fondazione LIA
  • Luc Audrain—Inclusive Publishing Consultant

Session Overview

Introducing the European Accessibility Act

Inmaculda opened this webinar by giving us an overview of the EAA and how this applies to the publishing industry with regards to  services (ebook content and software) and products (such as ereaders), which fall within the scope of this new legislation. Both have accessibility obligations to meet within strict timelines and these were explained as well as transition periods

How the Publishing Industry Will Need to React and the Resulting Benefit to Consumers

Cristina Mussinelli gave us an overview of how the EAA is going to affect our industry and how we need to respond to the timelines for implentation, from various points of view—publishers, legal and consumers. We need to create an accessible publishing ecosystem to ensure that all areas of our digital workflow, from content creation through to paying for ebooks online and the accessibility of our reading app, are fully accessible. Every element of this workflow needs to play their part in complying with the requirements of the EAA.

By adopting international standards publishers can work towards creating born accessible digital content ie. content that is accessible from inception and available within mainstream publishing outlets. Accessibility metadata should be included as well as an accessibility statement describing accessibility features.

Helping Publishers Understand their Obligations

Anne Bergman showed how the FEP plans to raise awareness and why this is so important. The 29 publishers associations across Europe are ideally suited to promote accessibility obligations at bookfairs and in cooperation with booksellers and technology vendors. The Aldus project that unites bookfairs is organizing accessibility camps and various accessibility events to get publishers involved and play an active role in moving forward.

Some Concrete Organizational and Technical Advice

Luc Audrain, an inclusive publishing consultant in France, but formerly of Hachette Livre, talked about the move towards accessibility from a practical point of view and outlined organization and technical steps that publishers need to concentrate on in order to comply with the EAA.

Organizational Steps:

  • Raise Awareness
  • Build a Team or a Charter
  • Adopt a Progressive Approach
  • Decouple Specifications from the Purchase Order

Technical Steps:

  • Go Digital and Move to the EPUB 3 ebook format
  • Support the Main Actors of the Ecosystem and benefit from them
  • Use Open and Free Tools from the Community

Related Resources

Discover the other webinars we’re running!

Publishing, Accessibility, W3C Standards. Where Are We Going? (W)

Publishing Accessibility and W3C Standards opening slideIn our series of free weekly webinars  June 3rd saw a session focused on the future of the W3C, entitled Publishing, Accessibility, W3C Standards. Where Are We Going? 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? Our speakers explored this theme during their webinar giving us an overview of what the publishing industry can expect from Publishing@W3C in the future.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Wendy Reid, Rakuten Kobo
  • Dave Cramer, Hachette Book Group
  • Tzviya Siegman, Wiley

Session Overview

Wendy Reid, Chair of the Publishing WG and Chair of the upcoming EPUB3 WG at W3C, opened this webinar by giving us an overview of the recent W3C survey conducted to understand how EPUB was being used within our industry. For publishers, EPUB is indeed the format of choice and it is very popular although , overall, it was concluded that publishers need it to do more. There is some misunderstanding about EPUB and better communication and spec improvements are needed to rectify this.

Dave Cramer, Chair of the former EPUB Community Group and Chair of the upcoming EPUB3 WG at W3C, gave us some background on how Publishing@W3C works and how we need to be using the W3C process as a tool to make improvements to our industry standards. The EPUB3 WG has seen 20 years of dedication to the EPUB spec but interoperability challenges, in particular, demand refinement and the new goals for the spec focus on these as well as other overdue alterations.

Tzviya Siegman, Chair of the Publishing WG and member of the W3C Advisory Board, discussed the EPUB accessibility spec—which she hopes will be a formal W3C recommendation by 2021. The EPUB Accessibility Taskforce is also working on a metadata project—The Accessibility Metadata Crosswalk, to identify gaps within the accessibility metadata in major industry standards.

Tzviya also discussed using DPUB ARIA and explained that if you use it correctly, how it can greatly enhance the reading experience for screen reader users. However, if used incorrectly the result can be quite the reverse so she suggests not using it unless competency levels are high.

WCAG Accessibility guidelines expect an update in Q4 2020 with several new success criteria to be included.

Wendy introduced us to the Audiobook specification which is on track to reach recommended status in Q3 2020, allowing for the creation of born accessible audiobooks and providing a mainstream standard for the creation of audiobook titles.

Our presenters gave us many resources and recommendations throughout the webinar and the Q & A at the end was most informative. Make sure you listen to some of the thought provoking questions and our panels expert thoughts on these topics.

Related Resources

Discover the other webinars we’re running!

Join us for the DAISY AGM

photo of an empty meeting roomThe DAISY Consortium Annual General Meeting is being held virtually this year and we’re delighted to open the doors to the wider DAISY community.

In the general meeting we transact the formal business required under our articles and governing regulations, but there will also be presentations to showcase some of our work. The meeting takes place on June 23rd at 12 UTC.

To receive the agenda and related documents, register at: https://daisy.org/agm2020

A Round Up of Celebrations, Awareness Building and Commitment to GAAD 2020

Banner with words May 21 #GAADGlobal Accessibility Awareness Day 2020  (#GAAD) took place on May 21 this year and we put together some tools and resources to encourage partners, publishers and industry bodies to promote awareness from our home offices during lockdown. Building on last year’s activities we saw our industry actively get involved in educating colleagues and customers and playing their part to increase the availability of digital content to people with print disabilities, despite the challenges of a global pandemic. Congrats to all who took the time and made the effort to reaffirm their commitment to accessible publishing by marking this event in some way.

Our publisher’s “at home” toolkit was a great success with large numbers taking our fun Accessibility quiz.You can still access the quiz and use it to promote awareness and to compliment other accessibility activities that you may have in mind for your colleagues. In fact, all of our suggestions are appropriate for any time so please carry on the good work!

Selecting a few events to highlight in this report:

a megaphoneRedShelf, one of our Inclusive Publishing Partners, ran a webinar on the day to focus on Open Educational Resources and you can watch this  still on YouTube. Keeping accessibility at the forefront of decision making is perhaps more important than ever, particularly when it comes to course materials. Many instructors are turning to Open Educational Resources (OER) during this period of rapid movement to online instruction—yet many of those tools may require alterations to ensure they are accessible to all. This session recognized Global Accessibility Awareness Day  by diving into the role that OER is playing in today’s course materials strategy and how to ensure the most accessible development and distribution of that content.

a megaphoneVitalSource, one of our Inclusive Publishing Partners, published a blog piece entitled: Accessibility Matters More Than Ever by Rick Johnson. “We must all remember that accessibility is a journey, not a destination. Just as technology is continuously evolving and changing, so too are students’ needs.”

a megaphoneMacmillan Learning published their Accessibility Journey and shared this with employees on May 21. A fantastic way to confirm their commitment to accessible publishing with colleagues on the occasion of GAAD. “Accessibility touches all areas of our Macmillan Learning. It’s important, and as is typical, you all excel when presented with an ambitious goal. So, thank you for your ongoing enthusiasm and support of this important initiative.”

a megaphoneJoAnna Hunt, Amazon, who recently presented a DAISY webinar, published a GAAD blog piece entitled: The Severity Gap in Accessibility. “I believe that closing the severity gap in accessibility has three parts. First, we need to reset who comes to mind when businesses think about their customers so we can change their prioritization framework. Second, we need to ensure they have an objective understanding of the barriers created by accessibility defects, so they can properly evaluate impact. Finally, we need to help leaders understand the business value of investing in accessibility, so we can influence their perception of severity.”

a megaphoneThe State University of New York (SUNY) held an accessibility week of webinars to celebrate GAAD, all of which are available to watch on YouTube. The full listing of webinars shows a wide reaching a varied program. “SUNY Accessibility Weekis specially designed to provide informative, practical accessibility knowledge to enhance inclusiveness of digital content for users with disabilities.”

a megaphoneHuw Alexander, textBOX prepared a piece for Typefi on The Silence of the Image, as part of their GAAD celebrations. “Writing alt-text can be a challenge, but it offers content providers a significant opportunity to engage with their audience whilst simultaneously providing a powerful marketing tool. Due to its hidden nature alt-text is often forgotten, but the coding underworld is a rich environment and enables the translation of the visual into the textual.”

These are just a few of the fantastic events that took place throughout the day and we hope to be able to build on our toolkit for next year and prepare more resources for you to use. In addition to publishing industry events there was a huge effort worldwide from other digital organizations and we’d welcome feedback on news and information from other sources that may be of interest to our readers.

Images in this post are taken from sketchnotes produced by Serena Nusing on the occasion of GAAD2020