Digital Content Empowers Accessible Reading
For users with disabilities, the challenge of finding content and tools that provide the most convenient access to information can be confusing and complicated. The various options and choices available to print disabled readers today are many and, whilst this is a good thing, readers need some guidance about what is going to suit their own personal requirements and accessibility needs.
Maya Haynes’ article for The Guardian is an excellent exposé of her own personal experiences and how ebooks have improved her reading experiences. She gives us a useful insight into her own reading journey.
Reading with Mobile Devices and Applications
Mobile devices and applications accommodate various reading needs and preferences for those who are looking for the best way to read with their fingers, eyes or ears. They may convert digital text to speech or, in some cases, provide braille output to a compatible braille device. Also, some apps enable access to books in audio formats.
A digital book will be accessed using a reading app, which is used to open, read and navigate the content. For someone who requires accessibility features, the app may be used together with the assistive features provided through the device’s built in software, or with a third-party product like a screen reader or dyslexia support tool. Many reading apps can be downloaded from the App Store for iOS devices or Google Play for Android devices. While several applications may be downloaded free of charge, content may have to be purchased separately.
The Reading Apps Accessibility Support Review
The Reading Apps Accessibility Support Review published in June 2018 gives an extremely useful overview of current reading apps and the various accessibility features incorporated in each. It is important that individuals and organisations can choose the reading systems that offer the accessibility features they need. These features will vary between individuals, but include support for a screen reader, ability to change the visual presentation of the contents, read aloud feature, feature to enlarge images and so on.
- Key elements of ebook accessibility: eBook Audit 2016, UK
- Reading and accessibility: MIT
- Assistive technology for reading: Reading Rockets
- Nielsen Norman Group: Reading content on mobile devices
- Assistive technology that’s built into mobile devices: Understood.org