Rich and Complex Content

Images, rich content and other complex features of an ebook by their very nature can be inaccessible to those with a print impairment. Some images contain even richer information than the text and, as a consequence, people who cannot see the image can lose out on extra information.

Text and audio description are the most widely used way to provide access to images and can greatly increase the accessibility of an image depending on the impairment of the reader. Writing image descriptions is a skill and there are a number of resources available to help everyone in the supply chain prepare these – description can vary greatly depending on the requirement of the given context.

Your client should have provided alternative text or image descriptions for all graphics and rich content, within your content file but, as you have no-doubt experienced already, this is not always the case. Ideally, you are in a position to request that these details be supplied to you but if you are adding these yourself then there are a number of resources that can help. You may want to read the advice given to publishers on this subject since you are handling some of their work here!


The Accessible Books Consortium

ABC hosts a free 20 minute online training session on Accessible Images – describing what these are exactly and how best to tackle various types of images.  Very useful for beginners and handy for in-house awareness training.

The DIAGRAM Center

The Diagram Center provides a host of resources designed to help content providers with image description. The POET tool “is an open-source web based image description training tool that helps people learn how to describe the various types of images found in digital books including complex images such as flow charts and Venn diagrams.”

Alongside this the DIAGRAM Center also provides a set of comprehensive guidelines, samples and training. Work on these projects is on-going as accessibility features and products advance.

W3C’s Tutorial on Images

This is an extremely useful resource for accessibility purposes.