Getting Started for Publishers

This page outlines 10 areas that you might like to consider as you begin your accessibility journey. There is a lot to think about and it might not be possible to tackle everything at once so these points will give you a place to start and steer you in the right direction. You will find some of these resources elsewhere on inclusive publishing, but we have brought them together here to give you a checklist. 

1. Why Do You Need to be Concerned About Accessibility?

Publishers are working hard to include mainstream accessibility within their content so that it can be available to all readers at the same time, at the same price and in the same format regardless of the reader’s ability. In many markets this is a formal requirement, and you need to make sure that you are doing the right thing, both legally and ethically. 

Read Introduction to Inclusive Publishing

2. Conducting an Overview of your Current Situation

It stands to reason that you need to be able to understand how your content measures up to today’s standards and requirements for accessibility. A simple audit will help you to ascertain how accessible your content already is and where the gaps are.

3. Points of Responsibility

Whatever the size of your organization, you should have a person or team responsible for accessibility. They do not need to have all the answers but they should act as a conduit for information and know who to speak to. Being able to advocate to senior colleagues about accessibility would be an excellent starting point for this person.

Read Organizational and Practical Information and The Business Case for Accessible Publishing

4. Understanding the Legal Requirements in your Market

Understanding the legal framework within your own publishing market will give you the basis around which to develop an accessible publishing policy and business plan. It is important that you take into account accessibility requirements in your own market and any market that you might be selling into. 

Read Regional Legislation and Guidance

5. Guidance and Training

There is a lot of accessibility guidance and training available and we would advise you to keep it simple. Encourage your colleagues to take an online training program to introduce them to inclusive publishing and then follow up with some specific guidance on their particular area of expertise. If this is part of your induction program this would help new employees get to grips with your policies.

Read Training and Guidance and Standards

6. Technical Requirements and Solutions

There are, of course, some technical issues to get to grips with but these are not too daunting and you may well be doing much of this already. Requirements can differ depending on the type of content you are producing but, first of all, it is important to know if you are working with EPUB 3. If you are, then that is a great start. If you aren’t, then you need to talk with your ebook development team to discuss working with this highly accessible format. 


7. Metadata

If you are just starting out on your accessibility journey, metadata is a crucial first step in letting your readers know about the good work you are doing. Many people find the concept of metadata overwhelming but if you consider that it is simply information about your book and its content, then it makes natural sense for you to include the accessibility features that you have ensured are available. 

Read Metadata

8. Testing Content for Accessibility

Your ebook developers will be testing the final ebook files before you publish and they should include accessibility testing as part of this workflow. There are a number of free solutions to help with this and if you can combine this with testing with a reader with lived experience then you will be well on the way to having a compliant file and probably some very useful feedback! 

Read Inclusive Publishing Toolbox

9. Customer Service and Feedback

It’s really important to make sure that your customer service team are aware of your accessibility efforts and how mainstream ebooks can now offer an accessible user experience. This will help them to advise and discuss with customers about their own requirements. 

10. Where to Get Help

There is plenty of help available and with tools and capabilities always evolving, it’s important to keep abreast of news and information. We encourage you to visit inclusive publishing on a regular basis and to sign up to our monthly newsletter. 

Check out the Accessible Publishing Knowledge Base and sign up for the Inclusive Publishing Monthly Newsletter