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GAAD 2022: An Overview of Celebrations, Awareness Building and Commitment

the words "Global Accessibility Awareness Day" have been drawn on top of a globe with many different hands reaching towards the wording from all edges of the illustrationGlobal Accessibility Awareness Day 2022  (#GAAD) took place on May 219 this year and we put together some tools and resources to encourage partners, publishers and industry bodies to promote awareness amongst colleagues. Building on activities from previous years we saw our industry actively up their game this year and get more involved in educating colleagues and customers who are busy playing their part to increase the availability of digital content to people with print disabilities, despite the challenges of the past couple of years. 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. We were amazed by the recognition that you gave to GAAD and urge you to continue in this vein.

Our publishers toolkit gave publishers inspiration to play their part and the following list is an small example of activities that took place

Events and Awareness Raising Activities

Taylor and Francis logoTaylor and Francis: Lunch and Learn

Taylor and Francis Publishing conducted a week-long series of lunch and learn sessions. Every day from 16 to 20 May, colleagues were on hand for 30 minute sessions, which included a 10 minute Q&A. They presented on a variety of interesting and practical topics related to Taylor & Francis’s commitment to accessibility, and shared the purpose of GAAD:

to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion, and the more than One Billion people with disabilities and impairments

PAAG logoLaunch of UK PAAG Linkedin Network

The UK Publishing Accessibility Action Group used the occasion of GAAD to launch its PAAG Linkedin group, encouraging all members of the UK publishing industry to take part in their activities. PAAG is a supportive community that fosters collaboration and encourages companies and publishing professionals in their accessibility journey.

Blackboard logoBlackboard Fix Your Content Day

Blackboard brought back their popular Fix Your Content Day, a 24-hour global event committed to creating accessible and more inclusive digital learning content. The objective of the day was to mobilize instructors and staff to fix as many digital course files as possible through Blackboard Ally.

Top Tips

kogan page logoKogan Page Top Tips

Kogan Page published a series of top tips on social media, opening with Helen Kogan’s commitment to accessibility:

Accessibility is important to us and we’re proud to have our efforts recognized by Benetech, ASPIRE and more. However the work doesn’t end here. We’re continuously working to improve and encourage others to do the same

Their top tips included:

  1. Create and promote EPUBs, using the free accessibility checker, Ace by DAISY
  2. Speak to users of assistive technologies to understand their reading needs and engage accessibility experts to help devise a plan of action for creating accessible EPUBs. It’s a friendly community!
  3. Test your ebooks on different ereading platforms and devices to get an idea of the different accessibility levels they provide. Your readers will have different needs and won’t all be using the same setup.
  4. Tell readers which accessibility features are in your ebooks. This includes having an accessibility statement on your website.
  5. When it comes to improving accessibility for ebooks and websites, small, simple improvements can make a large difference to screen-reader users. You don’t need to overhaul your practices overnight. It’s more important that you just get started.

scribely logoScribely Shorts

Scribely produced a series of top tips throughout the week, advocating for well written and meaningful alt text:

  1. Match the alt text tone/style/voice to the content.
  2. Listen to your alt text read out loud by a screen reader. You’ll quickly realize that things like typos are a big problem. Screen readers attempt to read whatever word you type out.
  3. Think about reading order before you write alt text. What information will assistive technology users experience first?
  4. Write alt text like your content depends on it. Because it does! Your content is not complete until it is accessible to everyone.

Webinars

McGraw Hill logoMcGraw Hill Education

McGraw Hill organized a session with four panelists on Why Accessibility is Everyone’s Business and how the organization’s efforts are impacting – and have an even greater opportunity to impact – the lives and learning experiences of others. This was a global event with over 200 employees attending who found the discussions “inspirational and enlightening”.

Amnet logoAmnet: Digital Accessibility, No Longer An Afterthought

Presented by Charles LaPierre (Benetech), this Amnet webinar gave an overview of how to start creating better accessible digital content. The importance of accessibility within a digital content workflow was the central focus of this session in honour of GAAD. Amnet is one of our Inclusive Publishing Partners.

hassell inclusion logoHassell Inclusion

In honor of GAAD, Hassell Inclusion are running a webinar on May 26th entitled 5 Things To Do to get the Accessibility Funding You Need. These proven strategies will focus on how to get the investment and commitment from Senior Stakeholders in your organisation, whether the battle is getting a share of Diversity & Inclusion budgets, showing the Board the difference accessibility makes to your customers or employees, how it can help you sell your products, or demonstrating how your competitors are investing in it.

Blog Pieces and Articles

User Experience Activities

LIA logoReading in the Dark

To ignite the senses and imagination a Reading in the Dark event was held at the Turin International Book Fair. By introducing delegates to the experience of reading without any light present, they were able to experience reading with a visual impairment experience. This event was organized by the AIE (Italian Publishers Association) and Fondazione LIA (an Inclusive Publishing Partner) within the framework of Aldus UP. 

adcet logoADCET GAAD Challenge

ADCET prepared 3 GAAD challenges for you to test out the user experience for yourselves:

  • Challenge 1: No Mouse in the House
  • Challenge 2: No Sound to be Found
  • Challenge 3: No Peeking, Just Listening

Messages of Commitment

vital source logoVitalSource

VitalSource, an Inclusive Publishing Partner, tweeted: “Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day! At VitalSource, accessibility is at the forefront of everything we do through our commitment to create, adopt, and evolve with accessibility standards. Accessibility is a journey, not a destination.”

With a quote from Rick Johnson, Co-Founder & VP of Product Strategy

Vendors must design in accessibility from the start, commit to the journey and ensure it is a fundamental part of their DNA

If your organization celebrated GAAD this year and you’d like us to include details of your activities in this post, please contact us with the details!

The image used in this article was prepared by Ruby Curtis-Cowen (creativeusers.net)

Announcement: EPUB 3.3, EPUB Reading Systems 3.3 and EPUB Accessibility 1.1 Move to Candidate Recommendation

The W3C has announced that the following documents are now W3C Candidate Recommendation Snapshots:

EPUB 3 defines a distribution and interchange format for digital publications and documents. The EPUB format provides a means of representing, packaging, and encoding structured and semantically enhanced web content — including HTML, CSS, SVG, and other resources — for distribution in a single-file container.

The full W3C announcement explains this important development in more details and provides information for implementation and feedback.

Our article What Does EPUB 3.3 Mean For Accessibility explores the new version of the standard and you may also be interested in the recent TechForum webinar The Year of Testing Dangerously where Wendy Reid (Kobo) and Dave Cramer (Hachette), co-chairs of the W3C working group, discuss the new specs in more detail.

Creators and Creatives Seek to Make Children’s Books Accessible to All Readers

bookseller logoThis article was written by Chloe Johnson (@ladychloestark) and published in The Bookseller on March 28th, 2022. Inclusive Publishing are pleased to see mainstream publications focusing on the accessibility of children’s books and look forward to future discussions regarding the accessibility of fixed layout ebooks.

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In the wake of a recent collaboration by Dapo Adeola and Living Paintings to adapt his book for blind readers, The Bookseller meets those in the trade who are working to broaden access.

The vast majority of us want to embrace being accessible, and when looking to the future generation, we don’t want children to be excluded. Everyone can recognise the value of young readers seeing themselves reflected positively in literature and being able to engage with the written word. It sends messages to children that they are a part of, and valued by, society, and improves their quality of life, as well as providing them with other educational benefits.  

So why does publishing still struggle to produce children’s books that are truly accessible? 

The answer is that “accessible” is a very broad word that can be hard to quantify. The issue can seem something to tiptoe around, in case of error, and the UK publishing industry has a propensity for playing it safe. It is only now that we are beginning to embrace the unknown and truly learn what accessibility and inclusivity can mean, that we are trialling new ways of creating books that can be accessible to children with disabilities and different access needs.  

I’m only now getting the picture of how much work needs doing regarding access to books for children of all demographics

Dapo Adeola, an award-winning illustrator known for creating characters that challenge expectations around race and gender, has recently teamed up with Living Paintings, a charity that adapts picture books into braille and audio formats, on a fundraising campaign so his picture books Look Up! (written by Nathan Byron; Puffin) and We’re Going to Find the Monster (written by Malorie Blackman; Puffin) can be adapted into accessible versions for blind children. He comments: “I’ve only been in publishing for three years and the bulk of that has been spent getting my head around being an author/illustrator, so I’m only now getting the picture of how much work needs doing regarding access to books for children of all demographics.” 

Innovative new efforts like this help us understand accessibility more as a society and normalise reaching towards it. We are learning that while inclusion of children with all kinds of differences in terms of content is incredibly important, if children can’t access them, we are only half-way to fixing the problem.  

While there is development in accessibility, these are the exception rather than the rule; popular children’s books that gain traction are still often lacking accessible elements, both in terms of inclusion and in how they are produced. Those that are accessible may be more expensive due to additional elements, and therefore can be out of reach to families that need them.  

ClearVision Project, a postal lending library comprised of children’s books shared by visually impaired and sighted children and adults, is one of the organisations attempting to fix this problem. Its director Alex Britton says that the pandemic has been a factor in highlighting this need for accessible books. “It’s certainly highlighted the fact that there’s little to nothing being commercially produced that includes both print and braille, making books suitable for sharing. When hundreds of children were having to be home-schooled, separated from their specialist teachers and the resources produced for them in school, we had a big spike of requests from parents who had nothing they could share with their braille-reading children, for education or reading for pleasure.” She adds: “The same problem exists in reverse: we also loan to braille-reading adults so they can read with sighted children; it’s pretty hard to home-school your kids (or take on extra grandparent duty) if you don’t have an accessible version of what they are reading.” 

Going It Alone

There has been a long-standing history of accessible books being created outside the publishing industry. Modifications to children’s books—such as physical objects being glued to pages, velcro, page spacers and covers—have often been created by educators who wanted children with different access needs to be able to participate in learning. But now that publishing has become more aware of accessibility and inclusivity, many are calling for more mainstream-published books to take on this responsibility. 

As a library for children who need books in print and braille, we are constantly searching for books which offer something beyond the visual to young readers, as well as reflecting their realities.

Britton feels that this is an area in which publishing is not doing as much as it could be. “As a library for children who need books in print and braille, we are constantly searching for books which offer something beyond the visual to young readers, as well as reflecting their realities. Surprisingly, that’s still quite hard to do.” She says there are limited options available for beginner readers and believes authors and publishers could greatly widen the appeal of their books by “shaping stories so that the focus of each page is something all readers can access”. 

However, she recognises that there is an appetite and a push for inclusivity, which perhaps may be the first step towards creating more accessible content that is available on a wide scale. She comments: “There has certainly been a push towards greater inclusiveness in terms of depictions of disability in books, at least in the illustrations…Equality would be a world in which any child could go into any bookshop or public library, and pull from a shelf a book they could read. We are a long way from that, but the publishing world is embracing the need for accessible formats, and the publishers who have made copies of their work available to charities such as the RNIB and Calibre audio library are testament to that.”  

Vika Books is one such publisher embracing accessible formats. It uses immersive technologies to enhance book designs using sign language, and has just released its first augmented reality publication, Where is the Bird?, a “buggy book and smartphone app that makes pre-speech communication between babies and adults a reality.” 

While there may be many headlines about the time children spend on screens, Vika Books’ creator Victoria Forrest argues that creative technology can make books more accessible for children. She explains: “The written word is based on phonics, an abstract concept that deaf children can struggle to understand. Bedtime stories are a foundation for literacy—the books that I am starting to create use creative technology to bring a silent, static page to life, translated by showing a video of sign language; their own moving language. Augmented reality can bring a page to life, and we have actually learned that children attach a memory of creative technology to the printed page rather than the phone. It increases fascination with the books rather than the technology used to read them.” 

Looking Up

Forrest argues that there are promising examples of inclusivity in terms of the narratives and characters found in children’s books, referencing Andi Goes, a picture book created by the Havas Lynx Group as an early detection tool for children with dyslexia, and The Roller Coaster Ride by David Broadbent (Child’s Play), which features a main character with an upper limb difference. Meanwhile, titles such as the Italian-language Pesci Parlanti series of fairy tales, designed for children with autism and created by specialist Enza Crivelli, are paving the way for how publishers can work with independent charities and experts to produce more accessible children’s literature, for a variety of ages and access needs.  

However, Forrest is also clear that publishing still needs to focus on catering to different access needs. Expanding on the lack of accessibility within publishing, and how much further we have to go, she comments: “I think there are two things: accessibility of disabilities, and inclusion of. The accessibility side of things relates to physical production. Simple things like making sure the font is clear and not fiddly, that text is written on a solid, high-contrasted background so children are not distracted from the letters… Even those two things can make an enormous difference. What the pandemic has done is opened the door of an awareness and acceptance of creative technology to make books more accessible, and to enable children and parents to become more familiar with creative technologies and how they can enhance reading.” 

Overall, there is a lot of work being done around children’s accessibility, but there is still more to do. With an increased focus on diversity and inclusion in publishing, there is plenty of scope to explore different avenues in terms of accessibility of children’s books. Kids’ literature often fosters the imagination, so perhaps we should take a leaf out of these books to imagine what we could do if we pushed further for more creative, accessible books that more children are able to enjoy.

 

NNELS Accessible Publishing Summit 2022: Event Overview

NNELS LogoLast week saw the 4th iteration of the hugely successful NNELS Accessible Publishing Summit, held virtually for the 2nd time. One of the benefits of being held virtually was evident in the number of international delegates who joined the summit to share their expertise and experiences with the Canadian publishing industry. For the 1st time NNELS made some of the main sessions available via YouTube and the links for these sessions can be found throughout this report. What this summit does so well is to bring together communities of people to discuss and share ideas on accessible publishing via panel sessions, presentations, moderated group sessions and working group sessions.

Day One

One of the most successful elements of this summit has always been the NNELS tester demonstrations which were as informative and powerful as usual. The first demo concentrated on Reflowable EPUB and was presented by Ka Li (NNELS) and the second demo focused on Fixed Layout EPUB and was presented by Mélissa Castilloux (NNELS). Both sessions are invaluable and it is wonderful to have these now available as YouTube videos.

The User Perspectives Panel asked questions such as: How do you read? What does your access toolkit look like? What does timely and meaningful access mean for you? David Kopman (NNELS) answered this last question with the simple and straightforward answer: “Equality”. Lots of thoughts and ideas were presented in response to the question: What is the one issue or factor which impacts your reading experience that you would most like to see prioritized within the reading ecosystem? Answers included: access to sample chapters, DRM, reading apps to improve accessibility for screen readers, structure always, one app for everything. This panel is well worth watching if you haven’t yet had a chance.

The Industry Updates and Expert Perspectives Panel, also on day one, was a chance for accessibility organizations to update delegates on what is new and what is on the horizon for accessible publishing. DAISY was pleased to update everyone on current activities and it was helpful to hear from others on this panel about all the good progress being made.

Day Two

Day two began with the International Panel which was moderated by Sarah Hilderley (Inclusive Publishing). This interesting session asked questions of panelists from Italy, Australia, Brazil and the UK, highlighting the very different landscapes that we all work in and the various challenges in these markets. Well worth a watch if you want an alternative perspective.

Following this opening session. we moved into panel discussion breakout rooms and delegates had the choice of attending sessions on metadata, certification and reading systems which gave everyone an opportunity to familiarise and update their knowledge in these areas before the working groups on day three. Impressive groups of experts sat on each of the panels and it was difficult to choose where to spend time! A second set of panels on digital literacy, publisher needs and publishing education brought this most informative day to a close.

Day Three

Day three allowed the delegates to get down to the nitty gritty in the 3 hour-long working group sessions . We are looking forward to the notes and resources that result from these stimulating sessions where everyone felt very comfortable in expressing their opinions and contributing to discussions. Creating the right atmosphere for this type of working experience is undoubtedly where NNELS have excelled at the summit. Congratulations to all involved.

Additional Resources

 

 

 

Why the Right Kind of eLearning Content Is Important for an Effective Training Program

Photograph of students, taken from the neck down in a seted position. Between them they have a laptop, a book and a tablet open Coming up with impactful eLearning content can be a complicated process with different facets to it. It is essential to create eLearning content that arouses the curiosity of learners and keeps them engaged for the entire duration of the course. At the same time, the content needs to be relatable to your target audience and ensure long-term knowledge recollection. The last requirement assumes greater significance given the absence of an actual instructor and any person-to-person interaction.

eLearning content that you develop should be relevant to the current times; accessible to all kinds of learners, including those with different abilities; and SEO-friendly to help it rank high on search engines. Based on these principles, eLearning solutions can be broadly categorized into three: learning experience, performance supporting, and informative.

Content that is aimed at helping build skills and behavior can be classified as a learning experience. This aims at long-term goals rather than giving instant results. Performance-supporting eLearning solutionsmake use of resources and learning tools to quickly empower the learner to perform a task satisfactorily.

Informative eLearning content takes the middle path by supporting learning performance while providing all the necessary information. Digital brochures and product knowledge guides are examples of informative content.

You will find these categories of content in corporate and educational eLearning solutions. The first step toward creating the right kind of eLearning content is to identify the types of eLearning content that best suit your learners’ requirements. Once you zero in on that, it’s time to consider the modules that will have maximum impact on your audience.

Some of the popular formats of eLearning modules include slides, training videos, quizzes, podcasts, and eBooks. You can also opt for advanced eLearning content formats such as interactive videos, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) simulations, and impactful games. VR simulations are often found in training or education programs in the health care sector. When you have the right kind of content, your training program is sure to be effective and result in desired outcomes.

Organizations such as Amnet can help you with bespoke corporate eLearning solutions in a format appropriate to your needs. We can also assist with preserving your legacy eLearning content by ensuring its seamless digital transformation to new age formats. Our services ensure enhanced accessibility and a consistent learning experience for your learners.

This piece was submitted by Inclusive Publishing Partner, Amnet Systems

2021 DAISY Information Sharing Day (W)

3 people are sat on a bench, backs to the camera, looking at a wall of photographs of many different faces,  used here to depict the large reach of The DAISY Consortium.Towards the end of 2021 we held a special DAISY Information Sharing Day webinar. Maarten Verboom, President of The DAISY Consortium, opened the session by welcoming the large audience and explaining that events would be divided into three sessions. You can catch up on each session via the links below.

Part One: DAISY Activities

Six presentations in this session focused on the various activities that have been undertaken by DAISY:

  1. DAISY Project Highlights
  2. DAISY Pipeline Case study
  3. Accessible Books on the Web
  4. Capacity Building During Covid Times
  5. Preparing for the Revolution in Born Accessible Publishing in Europe
  6. Improving Access to Music Braille

Part Two: Member Activities

  1. DAISY In Egypt
  2. Digital Braille Innovations
  3. Voice Assistants and DAISY Online
  4. Sign Language Video in Accessible Digital Content
  5. Leveraging Machine Learning with Page AI

Part Three: Accessible Publishing

  1. Overview
  2. European Accessibility Act Mapping
  3. The User Experience Guide for Displaying Accessibility Metadata
  4. Reading Systems Evaluation
  5. Near Future Plans

Each webinar overview includes a transcript, recording of the various sessions, related resources and information. This event included many excellent speakers and DAISY would like to thank them all for their time and expertise in delivering such an informative and exciting program.

Welcoming New Inclusive Publishing Partners

We are thrilled to begin this year with 2 new Inclusive Publishing PartnersColibrio and BoinIT are very welcome additions to our stellar list of partners.

  • Boin Information Technologies, Inc is a specialized company that produces Accessible EPUB publications, develop and provide authoring tools, EPUB and DAISY Viewers, etc. including an authoring tool specialized for the Korean language with old Hangul. BoinIT provides their authoring tools through the platform of The Korea National Library for the Disabled.
  • The Colibrio Reader is a new, innovative Reading System SDK built on the Modern Web Platform. It is developed using the latest technologies and practices, built to support new upcoming standards, as well as the current publishing formats. Colibrio Reader excels on any platform and performs equally well on mobile as on desktop.

If you are interested in the details of this program we would be delighted to discuss how you can become involved.

Inclusive Publishing 2021 Annual Review

Profile head shot of Richard OrmeIt’s been a busy year for Inclusive Publishing. As we look forward to 2022, Richard Orme, CEO of The DAISY Consortium, reflects on some of this year’s successes for accessible publishing.

As an industry hub and news portal, InclusivePublishing.org has continued to share and report on events, projects and news items in 2021. In particular, the ongoing success of the DAISY webinar series has drawn much attention internationally and we have been proud to feature the overviews and resources from these sessions on inclusive publishing. With many of the webinars featuring practical demos and workshop style examples, there is something for everyone at whatever stage of their accessibility journey they find themselves.

Despite travel restrictions and the inability to meet in person there is much good news for accessible publishing and much to look forward to. Preparations for the European Accessibility Act have moved on apace and DAISY has hosted the European Inclusive Publishing Forum which has enabled conversation and collaboration between markets. The new legislation will affect publishers worldwide whether they are publishing or selling in these markets. DAISY has also been involved in the project to map the specification EPUB Accessibility 1.1 to the requirements of the EAA.

Inclusive Publishing has been delighted to welcome the following new organizations to the Inclusive Publishing Partner program:

Our network of partners is ever-growing and we welcome interest from all sectors of the publishing industry who we can support in their accessibility journey. We’d love to discuss our Inclusive Publishing Partner program with you so do get in touch if you would like to support our work and collaborate on your own accessibility journey.

2021 saw the release of The User Guide to Displaying Accessibility Metadata in which we were pleased to play an integral developmental role. This simple and easy to follow guide will assist the user in making sure that their content is discoverable by those with accessibility access requirements. There are still many publishers doing all the good work and not telling people about it!

We’ve been very lucky to work with some top-quality authors this year and our thanks go to all of them for their contributions and news updates. From event reports to opinion pieces, we’ve been fortunate to be able to publish some terrific pieces of extremely high quality. Our European Accessibility Act case studies are a prime example of this, giving our readers insight into the preparations being made for this important legislation and offering tips on lessons learned.

We’ve managed to participate in many online sessions over the past 12 months and we are amazed at how the “virtual event” has developed over the course of the pandemic. In addition, we published an at-home toolkit for the occasion of GAAD 2021 (Global Accessibility Awareness Day) and were pleased to report on many industry events that took place online to celebrate this important occasion.

DAISY hosted the annual Accessibility Action Group seminar which usually takes place at The London Book Fair. This year we presented the seminar as part of our webinar series and were thrilled with the international interest for this session which was entitled: The Essentials for Accessible Publishing in 2021. The stellar line-up of speakers gave a quick-fire round up of the top 5 must haves for today’s publishers and you can still access the recording, slides and resources for this event.

Work continues on the tools, solutions and projects that are so important to our friends and members:

to name but a few. You can read about our progress in these areas by signing up to the Inclusive Publishing newsletter which is published on a monthly basis and will make sure that you don’t miss out on our latest news.

It’s very important to us that we continue to support the wider industry on their journey towards inclusive publishing and we look towards 2022 with perhaps more optimism and enthusiasm than previous years. There are some exciting developments we will be sharing with you in the coming months and we will continue to publish both technical and non-technical information to cater for all our readers in this way.

We wish you all a very healthy and successful year ahead.

Richard Orme

Creating and Editing Accessible EPUB (W)

Title slide: Creating and Editing Accessible EPUBIn our series of free weekly webinars November 17th saw a session focused on “Creating and Editing Accessible EPUB”. This webinar follows our previous session on Validating and Conformance Checking EPUBs.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Dawn Evans, AccessText Network—host and chair
  • Richard Orme, DAISY Consortium
  • Amit Verma, InDesign Trainer
  • Marianne Gulstad, Publizon

Session Overview

Dawn Evans introduced today’s session by explaining how the panel of experts would guide us through a journey from content creation in mainstream tools and conversion processes, to how the resulting EPUB can be edited and amended to deliver accessible content for use by anyone.

Workflow Options for Accessible EPUB

InDesign

Amit discussed how to produce accessible content using InDesign:

  • Why and When to Use InDesign. InDesign is used by content creators to produce both print and digital publications. Once you have converted your InDesign file to EPUB there are a number of modifications that can be made to improve the overall accessibility of the content.
  • How to Use Accessible EPUBs with InDesign. Very often we hear that InDesign does not produce good EPUB files but if certain steps are followed, much of this can be avoided: use well-defined styles, anchor the images at the correct places, add ALT text to images and define the layout order using the story or articles panel, generate a well-defined TOC, insert chapter breaks and last but not least, making sure that the content structure is well defined with the correct HTML mapping headings. Watch the webinar recording to see examples of these.
  • InDesign + Circular Software. At this point in the webinar, Richard Orme conducted a brief interview with Ken Jones, Founder and Director of Circular Software to hear what he has been working on to make this process easier. The “no code accessibility” tools that Circular software has developed assist with the export of InDesign to accessible EPUB, making this a much easier process for users.

PressBooks, Hederis: Web-Based Services

Richard talked us through both of these platforms, with consideration given to the accessibility support offered and how he found the experience. Both platforms fared well in his assessments and it’s worth checking out both in the recording or transcript for details.

Google Docs, Apple Pages, Word: Word Processing Options

Richard discussed these options and the accessibility support they offer, emphasizing that in all cases it is vital to start with a well-structured document. Google Docs offers a “nearly valid” EPUB with some limitations which were outlined. Sadly an EPUB generated from Google Docs is not really fit for purpose in terms of accessibility.

Using Apple Pages resulted in “valid” EPUB. There are some missing elements but overall it is fairly clean.

And finally, Microsoft Word using WordToEPUB which also produces “valid” EPUB with the option to include many other accessibility features on top of the basic set including being able to integrate quality assurance tools to check accessibility (such as Ace by DAISY).

Editing EPUB to Improve Accessibility

Marianne Gulstad described the two ways to edit EPUBs:

  1. you can unzip the EPUB container and use any editing tool to change the text before using a specialist tool to rezip the EPUB archive.
  2. or you make life easier and use an EPUB editor. There are a number of EPUB editors that can open, edit and save edits such as Sigil, Calibre, Oxygen, Scrivener, Jutoh and Blue Griffon. Marianne took a close look at Sigil giving lots of examples and demos and showing how this editor can be used to check the EPUB using EPUBCheck.

Related Resources

EPUB testing

InDesign Resources

Web-based EPUB Production Services

Note: many other web-based EPUB conversion and production tools exist, this is not a comprehensive list or an endorsement of these services over others.

GrackleDocs – Google Docs accessibility plugin

Desktop EPUB Production Tools

Useful Sigil Tutorials

Discover the other webinars we’re running!

EAA Case Study: Germany

The European flag with an icon of The Brandenburg Gate in the centerThe European Accessibility Act has galvanized many European countries and The DAISY Consortium has been pleased to take part in many interesting and collaborative conversations with partners, members and interested parties.

Each country has their own story and their own unique set of experiences in approach to the EAA and we are attempting to capture some of these in our new series of case studies. The more we can share and learn from each other, the better prepared we hope everyone will be.

Germany

This case study looks at some of the work underway in Germany where The EAA has already been transposed into national law. We spoke with Dana Minnemann from dzb lesen, the German centre for Accessible Reading, and Kristina Kramer from Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, 2 organizations who are very connected with their accessible publishing focus. Germany is one of the first countries to produce a text for implementation from the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs (Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales) 

The publishing landscape in Germany is large and varied with digital publishing seeing something of a boom recently which has helped to turn publisher’s attention towards the accessibility of their digital content. Awareness surrounding accessible publishing has been influenced by the mandatory legislation although many publishers remain unaware about how to implement accessibility within their current workflows and are looking for guidance in this area.  The STM sector is probably the furthest ahead in their accessibility journey but is fair to say that the industry, as a whole feels, a new sense of responsibility. 

In Germany EPUB 3 is used extensively in the trade fiction market and a born accessible content checker is used in conjunction with these files which is an adaptation of the Ace by DAISY EPUB checker. Plans are to switch over to the mainstream Ace checker. The German publishing industry supports and closely follows the work done by FEP and The Lia Foundation in advocating for the use of EPUB 3 and this has helped to build awareness. 

Industry Task Force 

In December 2020 a Task Force was convened to bring together approximately 30 experts who meet every 6-8 weeks to discuss next steps, concepts for seminars, training courses and webinars. The task force concentrates on articulating the needs of each sector and includes participants from each area of publishing together with colleagues from Austria and Switzerland (both German-speaking markets). The task force works on a collaborative approach for all areas of the industry. 

The task force has produced industry documentation in German and these are housed in an accessibility area on the Publishers Association website alongside links to material that has been developed by other international partners. Guidelines such as a checklist for EPUB 3, together with best practice reports will be available on this site. 

The Publishers Association has close connections with international partners such as Federation of European Publishers, the International Publishers Association and the Accessible Books Consortium.  

Challenges Ahead 

For the German market there are a number of challenges that Dana and Kristina foresee in the future: 

  • Funding: dzb lesen and Börsenverein have applied for financial support from the Federal Ministry in order to be able to develop further training and seminars. 
  • The Backlist – questions over how to handle accessibility for legacy content remain and it is currently unclear as to whether publishers will be required to attend to this content and how this might be achieved. Costs surrounding this are also a concern. 
  • The text itself in the EAA directive is, at times, unclear and there are quite a few open questions that exist which may affect the recommendations that the task force are making. In particular, questions over how detailed alt text needs to be for specialist content has caused uncertainty amongst members. Where questions like this arise, the task force tends to refer back to guidance from the DAISY Consortium. 
  • Awareness around accessibility in the workflow and how to cater to the many different types of workflow that are utilized will be a challenge moving forward, but the task force are tackling this. 
  • Metadata and what exactly needs to be filled in by the publisher  

Final Thoughts for Other Publishers 

The time is golden right now 

Kristina urged all publishers to seize the moment and to treat the EAA has a huge opportunity for change 

Both organizations involved in this case study have commented that their collaboration and connection in this project has been fundamental for the successful implementation of the EAA in this market.  

Our thanks to Dana and Kristina for their collaboration on this case-study. If you are interested in the work being done in the German market or would be interested in taking part in a similar case-study please contact us for further information.   

Resources and Links