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The Essentials for Accessible Publishing in 2021 (W)

opening slide: The Essentials for Accessible Publishing in 2021In our series of free DAISY webinars July 21st saw a session focused on The Essentials for Accessible Publishing in 2021. This webinar was held in partnership with the UK Publishers Association, Accessibility Action Group (AAG) in place of their annual in person seminar at The London Book fair.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Stacy Scott (RNIB), chair of the PA Accessibility Action Group—guest host.
  • Dr Agata Mrva-Montoya (Sydney University Press)
  • Laura Brady (House of Anansi)
  • Richard Orme (DAISY)
  • Graham Bell (EDItEUR)
  • Daniella Levy-Pinto (NNELS)

Session Overview

In keeping with previous AAG seminars this webinar promised to be a quick fire journey through this huge topic with lots of speakers, experts in their fields and plenty of take homes for our delegates. Stacy Scott introduced the topic and our first speaker Dr. Agata Mrva-Montoya briefly explained the areas that would be covered.

Advocacy and Policy

Agata briefly took us through the results of an insightful survey conducted in Australia this year,  encouraging us to ensure that in-house advocacy is in place accompanied by a clear and thorough accessibility policy so that “publishers can produce born accessible publications themselves”. Her presentation included an extremely useful overview of how to put together an effective accessibility policy and areas that should be taken into account. Publishers shouldn’t forget that this policy together with their overall approach to accessibility requires regular review and should be cognisant of technical standards and provisions for procurement.

 Content Workflows

Laura Brady gave us a tour of the various workflow routes to accessible EPUB, emphasising the need for culture change in-house to effect these workflow options and stressing that “buy-in throughout the chain is key to the successful production of accessible content.” Lots of useful resources and options to consider including, WordToEPUB, InDesign workflows and XML workflows (the head of the workflow food chain).

Tools and Solutions

Richard Orme continued Laura’s workflow presentation with a look at post-export tools for validation and conformance checking of content. In particular he highlighted EPUBCheck, Ace by DAISY, Ace SMART, The Accessible Publishing Knowledge Base and the Inclusive Publishing hub, urging everyone to take a look at the latter and sign up for the inclusive publishing newsletter at the very least!

Accessibility Metadata

Graham Bell gave us a clear overview of why it is so important to include accessibility metadata at all stages of content production. “If you optimize the accessibility of your books, then your book metadata should reflect that.” He focused on the 3 types of metadata that should be included: metadata included in web pages, metadata included within the EPUB package and accessibility metadata about the book which is embedded in the ONIX. All three serve quite different purposes and should be considered.

Consumer Testing and Feedback

Daniella Levy-Pinto impressed upon us the importance of testing content, using the tools that Richard spoke about and via manual testing using testers with lived experience. It is a necessary and vital part of your content workflow and must take into account the various types of assistive technology that may be used in order to access published works. “Assistive Technology provides opportunities for print disabled readers to access content and it’s important for publishers to understand this technology and to test their content with it.” Talking us through the testing process, Daniella showed us how an accessibility testing process with user feedback improves awareness and communication amongst employees, consumers and other end users.

Related Resources

Discover the other webinars we’re running!

Free DAISY Webinar: Accessibility Action Group Annual Seminar

July 21st, 2021

The Essentials for Accessible Publishing in 2021

This year the annual AAG seminar, which usually takes place at The London Book Fair, will be held virtually as part of the DAISY webinar series which so many of our readers are familiar with. The theme for this year’s seminar is the Top 5 Must-Have for Accessible Publishing workflows and we will be looking at major areas of interest for all organizations working within the content production arena. Speakers include:

  • Dr Agata Mrva-Montoya (Sydney University Press)
  • Laura Brady (House of Anansi)
  • Richard Orme (DAISY)
  • Graham Bell (EDItEUR)
  • Daniella Levy-Pinto (NNELS)

and the session will be hosted by Stacy Scott (RNIB), chair of the AAG

Date

July 21st, 2021

Venue

Online via Zoom

Learn More

Registration for this webinar can be found on the event registration page.

A Great Start for 2021: New Leadership for the UK Accessibility Action Group

A large "welcome" written by handRichard Orme, Chief Executive Officer at The DAISY Consortium delivered the following welcome piece for the UKAAF

The Publisher’s Association works to ensure the value of publishing, and the contribution it makes culturally and to the UK’s economy, is understood.

Part of its important outreach is a set of special publisher communities, made up of members from a particular function who provide specialist and technical advice to councils and staff. A key one that the UKAAF community will be familiar with is the special Accessibility Action Group; active for 10 years, it was set up to discuss developments in legislation, policy and technology and how this impacts accessible publishing, and UKAAF is a member of the AAG.

The group organises an annual event and develops guidance and best practice briefings for publishers on relevant matters. What’s important for us is that part of its remit is also bringing publishers together with advocacy organisations committed to supporting the production and distribution of accessible publications.

Despite COVID and all the hassles it’s caused us, there’s reason for optimism in 2021. That’s because in November the group secured a new chair. Stacy Scott manages the RNIB Bookshare UK Education Collection service, which provides accessible curriculum content to learners with a print-disability, and is also Publisher Relationship Manager at the charity. A blind mathematics graduate, Stacy has been professionally involved in the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) education sector for almost fifteen years (check out Stacy’s profile over at LinkedIn).

Stacy is already busy planning the agenda for her first event, a virtual meeting of the group in January. If you are work in the UK publishing industry and are interested in learning about, and participating in accessibility developments (after all, this is an action group!) then you can write to mail@publishers.org.uk

The UKAAF board would like to very much welcome Stacy to this important accessibility leadership position in our sector. I’m sure UKAAF members and allies would also want to take this opportunity to wish her all the best at an exciting and fast moving time in the development of digital publishing.

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

Accessible Publishing and the Marrakesh Treaty—Are you Ready? Event Report from LBF

Logo for AAG Seminar at LBF

This year’s Accessibility Action Group seminar was held on Thursday 14th of March at the end of the London Book Fair. This didn’t deter delegates in the slightest and the seminar was a huge success—The Faculty was packed and no-one was going anywhere until they were up to speed with what is happening with accessible publishing in the U.K.

Emma House, Deputy Chief Executive of The Publishers Association kicked off proceedings with an update on the legal state of affairs in the UK specifically with regards to the Marrakesh Treaty for Visually Impaired Persons and the new European legislation that has been welcomed by FEP in the last two weeks. Publishers have an obligation to make their content available to people with print disabilities. Consequently,  it remains within their interest to make sure that their mainstream digital content is fit for this purpose. If workflows and supply chains are able to embrace this notion then the need for specialist formats will become obsolete and business practices will become more cost efficient and timely.  With the opportunity to increase the size of markets, the business case is clear although different for the huge variety of publishing businesses out there.

The seminar was designed to encourage publishers to build accessibility features and functions into their products from their very inception so that they are complying with the law and benefitting all readers with well built, well-structured EPUB files.

Three case studies were presented from Kogan-Page, Macmillan Educations and Penguin Random House showcasing a real cross-section of the publishing industry, highlighting the opportunities and challenges that still present themselves and ultimately leaving our audience encouraged in the knowledge that accessible publishing is achievable and well within their grasp.

Martin Klopstock and Arthur Thompson from Kogan-Page are truly committed to producing “born accessible” content that is suitable for all their readers, regardless of their disability.  The availability of relevant standards and documentation are a huge motivating factor for them and, together with the Ace by DAISY,  free EPUB accessibility checker they have found that validation is a straightforward component of their digital-first workflow at Kogan Page. They identified 4 areas of focus within their case study: structural semantics, accessibility metadata, image descriptions and tables with the latter 2 items still challenging them in-house. That said, Kogan Page are indeed producing born accessible digital content within their digital-first workflow and plan to look towards their legacy content in the future. For more information on their methods and lessons learnt you can access their full slide deck here.

Astrid DeRidder from Macmillan Education took the stage next and began by discussing the ASPIRE project which was the first large scale interactive ranking of publisher and platform accessibility data. Macmillan scored well and Astrid urged delegates to take the opportunity of this easy win and improve their own accessibility information that is available within their organisation. Important to Macmillan is their forthcoming Employee Disability Network which will greatly influence how accessibility is viewed within the company and the quality of the digital content being output.

Finally, Simon Mellins from Penguin Random House gave us the trade viewpoint, talking about accessibility on a large scale basis and highlighting the opportunities and challenges that EPUB presents for accessible publishing. With its natural aptitude for accessibility EPUB 3 is becoming more mainstream but, ironically, workflows in-house are fairly rigid and it is difficult to influence change on such a grand scale. The opportunity has been recognised, though, and whilst image descriptions remain the biggest challenge, there is much underway at PRH which we should watch out for in the future. Simon’s complete slide deck is available here.

Sarah Hilderley, editor of the Inclusive Publishing website and newsletter, a DAISY Consortium initiative, rounded this event off by giving a brief overview of the state of play with regards to accessibility internationally. She referred to their recent survey on content creation and validation and was pleased to report that 62% of those surveyed are adhering to the EPUB 1.0 accessibility specification and that 54% are using, or plan to use in the near future,  Ace by DAISY for their automated validation. This is very encouraging—publishers are taking accessibility seriously and the tools and standards available to them are providing them with confidence and reassurance that goals are being met.

“Accessible publishing is good publishing after all.”

This event report was prepared by Sarah Hilderley from Inclusive Publishing for the Publishers Association with whom it has been cross-posted.

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – the AAG Accessibility Seminar at the London Book Fair

This event report was kindly submitted by Alistair McNaught, Accessibility Inclusion Specialist at JISC and one of the presenters at the AAG Seminar this year.

logo for the london book fair 2018

This year’s accessibility seminar felt ‘all grown up’ as if a milestone had somehow been passed. There were, in fact, two major milestones – the 10th anniversary of the Publishers Association Accessibility Action Group was one. The 150th anniversary of the RNIB was – appropriately – the other.

But the sense of maturity was more than a sense of age; it was also a sense of accomplishment. The Accessibility seminar has consistently fielded a great line-up of topics. Usually, there’s an element of aspiration, a sense of what the future could look like or signposts pointing towards it. This year’s topics went further. They were all about now; the tools you can use now, the publishers who are now prioritising accessibility and the information universities and colleges need now to help inform their support for disabled students.

Emma House, Deputy Chief Executive of Publishers Association and long-time coordinator of the Accessibility Action Group, introduced and chaired the session.

 

Richard orme, CEO DAISY Consortium, delivering his presentation at the podium

Richard Orme (CEO of the DAISY Consortium) introduced the new ACE by DAISY tool. Whilst EPUB 3.1 – the latest version of the EPUB standard – is the most accessible format yet it “has enough flexibility that it’s still possible to inadvertently create inaccessible content”. The ACE by DAISY checker examines a file and reports on WCAG accessibility issues, metadata (especially the accessibility metadata), outline structure, image descriptions etc., and creates a report on the file’s accessibility, complete with contextualised links to a knowledge base. A complementary tool – SMART, the ‘Simple Manual Accessibility Reporting Tool’ takes the outputs from ACE and configures a test plan for manual review. Finally, a Reading Systems evaluation protocol has been developed to check the accessibility of the reading system your file might end up being delivered through. This allows publishers to make recommendations for readers about the tools to use (or maybe the ones to avoid). Finally, Richard reminded the audience of the Inclusive Publishing website – a hub for advice and guidance on best practice for accessible content. So, with a highly accessible file format (EPUB 3.1), free tools to audit your content, a tool to evaluate the platform destinations and a knowledge hub… the barriers to being an accessible publisher are lower than ever.


Alistair McNaught
, one of Jisc’s accessibility and inclusion specialists, launched the ASPIRE project, a collaboration between publishers, aggregators and university libraries to provide plain English information on the accessibility features of e-book files and delivery platforms. The project provides the publishing industry with two months advance notice of a crowd-sourced audit of publisher and aggregator accessibility statements. If you don’t know what disabled customers need to look for the ASPIRE website will give you an excellent overview. If you do know, it helps focus your efforts on making the information available in an easily discovered way. The thrust of Alistair’s session was that “even if your accessibility isn’t great, knowing what does and doesn’t work allows disability support staff triage problems and prioritise solutions.” Alistair, a lactose-intolerant vegetarian, claimed that it is “easier to find out whether a £1.99 pie is suitable for my dietary needs than it is to find out if an ebook collection, costing thousands, is suitable for a dyslexic’s study needs”. The ASPIRE project should help the industry to make such inequality a thing of the past.

 

Luc Audrain (Head of Digitalisation, Hachette Livre) is not just an ‘early adopter’ but potentially the very first to incorporate the ACE by DAISY tool into a mainstream publisher workflow. This achievement earned Hachette an Inclusive Publishing award two days earlier. Luc started by identifying a spectrum of publication types depending on their semantic structure and whether they are driven primarily by content or layout. Plotting these on a scattergraph proved a fascinating way of identifying a range of accessibility opportunities and challenges.

Scatter graph of publishing types plotted by semantic structure and layout versus content. Accessibility is easier to achieve in content driven rather than layout driven texts.

Hachette’s work involved adapting their current workflows for fiction books to create “born accessible” EPUB 3. For this category of books, Hachette defined a specific profile of EPUB 3 they called “EPUB 3 Text”. The choice of EPUB 3 format was down to several factors including, a better user experience, better typographic layouts, better accessibility, a modern web technology with full market support. In 2016 Hachette tweaked their existing workflows so that the page layout XML fed an EPUB 3 work stream with epubcheck validation, and at the beginning of 2018, they have added accessibility validation using ACE by DAISY.

 

Close up of Huw Alexander, SAGE, delivering his presentationHuw Alexander, (Digital Sales Manager, SAGE) hosted the final session on “failing better”, encouraging the industry to create a culture of responsiveness and experimentation. He stressed the importance of management buy-in, not least in order to bring coherence to the processes so that everybody knows the part they play. SAGE has an excellent reputation for customer service, aiming at 24-hour turnaround but this level of responsiveness needs planning. SAGE has an accessibility working group within the company to help coordinate the vision of making content that works for everyone. This includes focusing on the user experience and moving mindsets from a niche customer service to a mainstream approach. Huw’s takeaway points included

  • have a long-term view, a pipeline for improvement,
  • acknowledge that some things are harder to do than others. You might fail to sort some issues, but make a point at succeeding at others,
  • don’t be afraid of small steps, enough small steps lead to a big change for the user.
  • Don’t be lonely. Learn from others, network and seek help. Stand on the shoulders of giants.

Emma House wrapped up the session and reminded us that it was the RNIB’s 150th anniversary and the Accessibility Action Group’s 10th anniversary.

The journey has not yet ended.
But we’ve made a good start.

Accessibility – Strategies for Success

April 12th, 2018

The annual Accessibility Action Group Seminar at the London Book Fair is suitable for everyone in the book industry who is involved in producing good quality ebooks and bringing them to their readers. No registration is required and the AAG welcomes everyone at the fair. With case studies from publishers who have experienced the challenges and opportunities of accessibility, this seminar will aim to show how achievable a successful accessibility strategy can be. Emerging technology solutions and tools to assist strategies (including Ace by DAISY, the new free EPUB accessibility checking tool) will also be presented along with an overview of challenges facing students when trying to access published learning materials.

Date:

April 12th, 2018, 13.00-14.00 UCT

Venue:

London Book Fair, Olympia, London, UK

Learn More:

Information is available at the LBF website