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Updates to DAISY Ace and SMART Support EPUB Accessibility 1.1

The DAISY Consortium has announced updates to its Ace EPUB Accessibility Checker and the SMART Tool:

Ace By DAISY

Ace by DAISY is the free, open source EPUB accessibility checking tool, created to assist in the evaluation of conformance to the EPUB Accessibility Specification, helping your company meet industry requirements of accessible procurement, and enabling you to produce higher quality, standards conformant publications.

Designed to assist content creators at any stage in their workflow Ace is available as both a command line tool for workflow integration and a desktop App for quick testing of titles. Updates to both the Ace Command Line Tool (v1.2.7) and the Ace App (v1.1.5) have been published to support the new EPUB Accessibility 1.1 specification (“Conformance and Discoverability Requirements for EPUB publications”), currently a W3C Candidate Recommendation Draft dated 07 June 2022. Other maintenance fixtures and an update to the DAISY Knowledge Base are also included.

 The links for these updates can be found at:

A new version of the SMART tool is also available, allowing users to begin evaluating conformance to the new Accessibility 1.1 specification. This tool provides manual conformance checks necessary to ensure conformance with EPUB and WCAG requirements. Users will continue to have their reports initiated to check conformance with the EPUB Accessibility 1.0 specification, but they will be able to change the conformance settings to the 1.1 specification, which will then also let them choose WCAG 2.0 or 2.1 conformance. Accessibility 1.1 conformance will become the default when the specification gets to the next stage of Proposed Recommendation.

The other major changes with this update are:

  • Users to be able to filter the success criteria in the conformance tab by the type of content they’re checking
  • The conformance tab, which now includes a “Stats” box that shows how many success criteria have passed, failed, need checking, or are inapplicable.

Together, Ace by DAISY, SMART and the DAISY Accessible Publishing Knowledge Base provide the most complete method for accessibility conformance testing of EPUB publications.

NISO Plus 2021

February 22nd to 25th, 2021

The NISO Plus Conference has been devised as a place where publishers, vendors, librarians, archivists, product managers, metadata specialists, electronic resource managers, and much more come together to both solve existing problems and more importantly have conversations that prevent future problems from ever occurring. DAISY developer Marisa De Meglio will be speaking alongside EDRLab’s Laurent Le Meur on “Accessibility and Ebooks: Strategies for Ensuring it’s Done Well” and we encourage all of our readers to take the opportunity to hear for themselves from one of the Ace by DAISY developers.

Date

February 22-25, 2021

Venue

Online

Learn More

For full program details and registration information visit the NISO Plus 2021 Conference website

Inclusive Publishing Seasonal Survey 2020 Reveals Promising Trends

The words "What Does progress look like?"Our annual survey, looking at accessibility within the publishing industry, has, this year, revealed a very promising trend towards awareness building and born accessible content creation. We seem to be at a tipping point and our hope is that accessibility becomes the norm within the digital publishing world and that ebook building blocks are finally equipped to serve all readers.

We received responses from a good mix of geographical locations including: USA, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Argentina, Mexico, Denmark and India. We were also pleased to receive responses from a wide range of publishing content types which has enabled us to get a more realistic and helpful view of the state of play.

Confidence Levels are Up!

Bearing in mind that those who filled out the survey probably discovered it because of an active interest in accessible publishing, the results in the category are as expected with 56% of replies claiming to feel “very” confident in their awareness of their product’s accessibility. 32% are “somewhat” confident and only 9% professed to feeling “not so” or “not at all” confident. The majority of replies from those in this last category came from publishers who publish text and graphics i.e. richer content which can bring additional accessibility challenges. Confidence levels are also boosted by the availability and awareness of tools to test titles for accessibility, but more on that shortly.

Embracing the EPUB Accessibility 1.0 Specification

68% of replies said that they adhere to the EPUB  Accessibility 1.0 Specification. Most of the organizations adhering to the specification felt very confident in their awareness of the accessibility of their products so it is good to see the specification gives reassurance and confidence in this way. Some people did offer the remark that they “weren’t sure” so there is certainly scope to improve the awareness and understanding of the specification.

Methods of Testing for Accessibility

Ace by DAISY, the free EPUB accessibility checking tool has clearly had a remarkable effect on publisher’s ability to test and check the accessibility of their content, with both the desktop app and command line versions scoring well in the survey. Those who have integrated the command line tool into their in-house workflows hail from quite a variety of publisher types. The bigger houses are certainly incorporating Ace into their workflows but it is very encouraging to see that some of the smaller publishing concerns are also managing to make this change. Publishers from the USA  and UK are top of the leader board here.

There is much confidence in Ace but no single solution is appropriate for all accessibility testing, and the survey results reflected that with a range of testing taking place. 44% of respondents indicated that they had access to accessibility experts either in-house or contracted, and 41% said they were outsourcing accessibility to 3rd party as part of production. 

A smaller number of people are currently using SMART, the DAISY tool to assist with manually checking titles and resolving issues after testing with Ace. Full access to SMART is available with our Inclusive Publishing Partner program, but anyone can use SMART for free to test 2 titles per month.

A few respondents indicated that they use a pool of testers with print disabilities to learn directly from end users, which is something we would encourage for periodic testing. This approach to testing provides an important perspective on how assistive technology interacts with reading systems and your publications.

What Proportion of Content is Tested?

The method of testing is very important but currently not all publications are being tested as we hear that this remains impractical for some publishers, depending on their workflows and content type. We were therefore very pleased to see almost half of respondents said that they test all of their content, and some of those produce a wide variety of publications including text with rich content.

Even if content will not currently pass accessibility testing or you are not able to immediately act on the results, running your publications through Ace can provide useful data to build a case for adopting accessibility as well as information about issues which need to be addressed.

Barriers and Challenges

Significant progress continues to be made throughout the industry in the adoption of inclusive publishing practices, yet many barriers remain which prevent widespread adoption. By far the biggest barrier reported was the cost and time required to implement accessibility related practices, which was identified by both small and larger publishers.

Interpreting and keeping current with the standards, guidelines and legislation was another topic highlighted by a few respondents, with mention of being “knee deep” in documentation and struggles with simply working out which standards apply to book publishers.

Alt Text and image descriptions in general were highlighted again this year but to a lesser extent than we saw last year. The amount of work involved in producing good quality alt text appears to be an issue that some organizations are actively seeking a cost effective workflow solution for.

Other challenges included handing of complex content including math, chemistry and scientific materials, raising awareness that ebooks do not have to resemble the print edition and keeping current with user needs, including the need for greater understanding of assistive technology.

 

Many thanks once again to everyone who participated in the survey—your time and honesty has enabled us to put together this snapshot of how we are progressing as an industry. We are extremely positive about tackling some of the issues raised and hope to report back with interesting feedback soon. We will be back with another survey towards the end of the year to continue to track our progress as an industry.

Announcing the Launch of the Ace by DAISY App

The DAISY Consortium is delighted to bring you the new Ace by DAISY App. Many of you will be familiar with the command line tool which has proved revolutionary for accessibility checking within EPUB workflows and this new desktop version builds on test version released a couple of months ago to make testing EPUB files from your desktop an even easier process.

Ace by DAISY helps you to ensure your EPUB content conforms with the EPUB Accessibility 1.0 specification, allowing all readers to access and enjoy your content irrespective of print disabilities or access requirements. The Ace App is designed to allow you to quickly test EPUB files through a familiar graphical user interface and highlight any issues which need to be addressed. Users will still need some understanding of the EPUB specification and accessibility requirements in order to resolve any problems found, but to make that process easier the Ace App is integrated with the DAISY Accessible Publishing Knowledge Base proving quick links to the relevant reference in this essential resource.

The Ace App is not intended to replace the command line tool, which remains the ideal solution for those wishing to test multiple documents or to integrate the testing process directly into production workflows. Technically the testing process taking place behind the scenes is identical on both the Ace by DAISY command line tool and the Ace App, so this is simply an easier way for some users to access the same process.

Get started by visiting the Ace App Github page for instructions on download and installation.

Accessible ebooks: BIC Breakfast Event Report

BIC logoThe Book Industry Study Group held their regular BIC Breakfast meeting last month on the 25th of April focusing specifically on accessible ebooks. Speaking to a full room Emma House, Deputy CEO of the Publishers Association in the UK, opened proceedings with a presentation on the importance of accessibility and setting the scene in terms of legal and international requirements.

Do not wait; the time will never be “just right.” Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.

Richard Orme, CEO of the DAISY Consortium, followed presenting a range of tools and support services based on industry accessibility standards. In particular, he concentrated on Ace, the new , open source, EPUB Accessibility Checker, a newly developed knowledge base built to accompany Ace and SMART (Simple Manual Accessibility Reporting Tool).

The DAISY Consortium (@accesibledaisy) promotes EPUB 3 because it has all the accessibility provisions that the book industry might need. #bicbreakfast

Chris Saynor from EDItEUR rounded off proceedings with a presentation on the importance of accessibility metadata looking specifically at schema,org, ONIX, the crosswalk and the role of each. Chris was asked the question whether accessibility metadata was actually being used by retailers and it was promising to hear that this is indeed starting to happen and that Amazon are keen for publishers to supply this level of detail.

Metadata improves discoverability. “Good” metadata improves sales. People with print impairments require different functionalities and the population of specific metadata fields to find the book they need. #bicbreakfast

For further information on this interesting event and access to the slide deck used by all speakers, readers should visit the BIC website.

Accessible Publishing to Feature at DPUB Summit in Berlin

The Digital Publishing Summit Europe, being held in Berlin on the 16th and 17th of May, 2018, has a significant focus on accessibility this year. EDRLab, the organizers of this popular event, aims to “strengthen a true spirit of cooperation between professionals supporting the adoption of open standards and software by the European publishing industry”.

Avneesh Singh, COO of the DAISY Consortium, will be presenting a session on EPUB 3 and accessibility alongside Stephan Knecht, CEO of Bones AG.

Avneesh and Stephan will concentrate specifically on validation tools and processes which can enable the publishing industry to implement accessibility with consistency and uniformity across diverse production processes. The new EPUB accessibility checker, Ace by DAISY, will demonstrated at this session and delegates will also benefit from an accessibility focus throughout the summit – from an introduction by ABC Excellence Awards Winner, Luc Audrain from Hachette Livre, to a presentation given by Cristina Mussinelli of the LIA Foundation, we look forward to an exciting and informative event.

For further details on the full program and registration see the DPUB Summit events page.

 

Ace by DAISY is for Everyone – Video

Your feedback tells us that there are a lot of people around the world who are interested in using Ace to check their EPUB files for accessibility. We would like to thank everyone for the wonderful response to Ace, and for your continued support. We have also heard that some people are keen to give Ace a try, but might be a little daunted by the installation process. Understandably not everyone is familiar with using command line tools.

We are here to reassure you that Ace is not reserved for techies, anyone can use it!

The process of installing and running Ace is very simple. You can follow our guide to Getting Started with Ace, or simply watch the video below as it walks you through the simple steps required.

For further information about Ace, our Ace Accessibility Checker introduction page is a great place to start.

CSUN Assistive Technology Conference Program is Live!

The program for the 33rd CSUN Assistive Technology Conference has been announced and, as ever, there is much on the agenda that is of interest to the publishing industry. George Kerscher, Chief Innovations Officer within the DAISY Consortium will be presenting 3 sessions at the conference:

Publishing at the W3C: The Future of all Accessible Digital Publishing– March 21st, 9am

Your Ace in the Hole to Win the Digital Publishing Accessibility Jackpot– March 21st, 10am

Why EPUB is the Standard for Accessible ebooks– March 22nd, 1.20pm

 

In addition to these presentations Inclusive Publishing has identified the following sessions which will also be of interest:

DIAGRAM Report 2017: Deep Look at Emerging Technologies for Learning.– March 21st, 10am

Guerilla Alt Text: Making Accessibility Happen– March 21st, 4.20pm

EPUB Creation Tool Comparison– March 22nd, 9am

Global Certified Accessible: EPUB Accessible Certification Goes Global– March 22nd, 10am

RNIB’s Operational Impact 2 Years Post-Move to Bookshare’s Private Library– March 22nd, 4.20pm

 

Registration for the conference opens on January 13th. For more details https://inclusivepublishing.org/news-and-events/march-2018-33rd-csun-assistive-technology-conference/

Accessibility to Feature at Digital Book World, 2018

Digital Book World Conference Logo

The popular mainstream publishing and technology conference, Digital Book World, is scheduled to return this year with a new focus and an exciting program. Accessible publishing will feature in Nashville as well as other publishing hot topics and DAISY are delighted to be be playing a significant role at the conference.  The session entitled “Building Accessibility Into Publishing Workflows: From The Ground Up” will be delivered by DAISY speakers and the Consortium will also play an advisory role in the creation of an Achievement in Accessibility in Publishing Award to be presented at the awards ceremony.

For details of the full announcement visit https://www.digitalbookworld.com/single-post/2018/01/15/The-DAISY-Consortium-joins-forces-with-Digital-Book-World-to-talk-accessibility

Ace by DAISY: Open Source EPUB Accessibility Checker – New Beta Release 

Ace, by DAISY, the newly developed accessibility checking tool for EPUB, has entered its last phase of testing with a new beta release this week. The full release of Ace 1.0 is scheduled for the end of January 2018, so now is the ideal time to explore how you can incorporate accessibility checking within your workflows. For full details on Ace and what it can achieve for you, visit https://inclusivepublishing.org/toolbox/accessibility-checker/