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George Kerscher Named NISO Fellow for Lifetime Achievement in Information Access

Photograph of George KerscherCongratulations to Dr. George Kerscher,  Chief Innovations Officer at The DAISY Consortium and Senior Advisor, Global Education and Literacy at Benetech, who was recently recognized as a Fellow by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) for his lifetime of achievement. An internationally recognized leader in document access, he has been devoted to making published information fully accessible to persons with print disabilities since 1987. We had a chance to hear from George about what this honor means to him and how people with reading barriers can be better served across industries and disciplines going forward.

Q: What does being named a NISO Fellow mean to you?

GEORGE: I have worked with NISO for more than 20 years, and most of that work has been in the library sector. NISO is also a pathway for the US to contribute to international standards, and I have participated in those activities as well. Most recently, ISO (an independent, non-governmental international organization) has approved the EPUB Accessibility Conformance and Discovery specification, and I participated through NISO in that work.

Being named a NISO Fellow is a great honour, and, being blind, I feel this reflects the change in society toward inclusion. People with print disabilities must be considered as we design information systems and standards.

Q: After achieving this distinguished honour through your work and accomplishments, what is the next critical problem that needs to be addressed regarding accessibility?

GEORGE: There is a lot more to do in access to information. Yes, the publishing industry has really stepped up to the accessibility plate, but there are still many publishers who need to embrace the principles of born accessible publications, meaning ebooks that have accessibility features built in from the start. Furthermore, society in general needs to be producing born accessible publications as a part of the normal process of document creation. I understand that Ph.D. students are now starting to produce their theses as accessible publications. This trend needs to be pushed down to all college students, and then down to high schools and into elementary schools. As soon as students start to produce materials for other students, they should make sure all students can read and consume what they produce. I can envision seventh graders creating documents which they share, and some of the students read them with the read aloud function and text highlighting as it is spoken. Once the features of accessibility are generally understood, they will become commonplace.

Q: How do people know if a title will be accessible?

GEORGE: In a born accessible EPUB, accessibility metadata is embedded using the schema.org vocabulary. Publishers are also including accessibility metadata using ONIX. The Publishing Community Group at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is finishing up a user experience guide for translating the technical metadata to a user-friendly set of information. VitalSource has already implemented this in their catalogue, which means people can decide if the title will work for them, or if it would be a good option for a course. We need to promote this approach of exposing accessibility everywhere, including library systems and search engines.

Q: What’s next for areas such as accessible math standards?

GEORGE: All browsers and reading systems need to support MathML natively. Screen readers used by blind users have supported MathML for years, but until browsers and reading tools provide correct visual presentation of equations written in MathML, it will not be accepted. I expect that read aloud functions will present spoken math correctly and highlight the expression as it is spoken. If we can figure out how to have a car drive itself, we should be able to have math made fully accessible. While reading math correctly is the first step, doing math must also be fully accessible. Interestingly, it was the National Science Foundation (NSF) that first provided me with a tiny grant to work on accessible math back in 1989, and this problem is still not solved.

Q: How can professionals in publishing, education, technology, and other disciplines work together to better serve people with reading barriers?

GEORGE: Born accessible documents and publications are at the core of a change in the information society to be fully inclusive. Authors and publishers must embrace the born accessible movement. Authoring tools must include accessibility checkers, like Word does today, MathML, and features to add alt text to images and provisions for extended descriptions. The reading systems and apps must be fully accessible and tested, and the work at epubtest.org is a good example of the testing. Schools and institutions of higher education must buy born accessible ebooks that are third-party certified, as Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPAT) may say all the right things but do not prove that the book is accessible.

About George Kerscher

George Kerscher, PhD, is the Chief Innovations Officer for the DAISY Consortium and served as the President of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF).  An internationally recognized leader in document access, he has been devoted to making published information fully accessible to persons with print disabilities since 1987. He coined the term “print disabled” to describe people who cannot effectively read print because of a visual, physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive, or learning disability. A tireless advocate, George believes that access to information is a fundamental human right and properly designed information systems can make all information accessible to all people.  He is the Director Emeritus at Guide Dogs for the Blind and in 2012 was honoured at the White House as a Champion of Change for leading innovation in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math for people with disabilities. George and his guide dog Kroner graduated from Guide Dogs for the Blind in July, 2015.

About NISO

The National Information Standards Organization is a not-for-profit membership organization that identifies, develops, maintains, and publishes technical standards to manage information.

This article has been cross-posted with kind permission of Benetech, where George is a Senior Advisor. Our thanks to Carrie Motamedi, the author of this interview. George is also the Chief Innovations Officer at The DAISY Consortium and you can read more about the NISO Award at our DAISY news piece.

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

W3C Announces the First Public Working Draft of EPUB 3.3

The EPUB 3 Working Group has published four First Public Working Drafts today for EPUB 3.3. This technology defines a distribution and interchange format for digital publications and documents and is the main format for accessible digital publications.  Read the full W3C announcement which indicates that EPUB 3.3 is now on a W3C Recommendation Track.

Event Report: Key Takeaways from NIPI Include! 2020

NIPI conference logoThe following report was prepared by Marianne Gulstad and we are delighted to cross-post it here on Inclusive Publishing. Marianne is the EPUB QA Officer at Publizon A/S, a key distributor of digital publications in Denmark.

________________________________________________________

So, back in November 2020 I had a splendid day with my Scandinavian colleagues at the NIPI Include! 2020 conference. About 125 like-minded joined in at 9:30 am and stayed online until the end, at 3 pm. We came from Latvia, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Many from MTM Sweden, I noticed – only a from Denmark, which actually surprised me a little … But I was happy to ‘see’ my former workplace Systime being represented by Claes Sønderriis, with whom I have created many text books for music and physics 20 years ago when I was working there as a graphic designer. It was also nice to see a handful of NOTA-people present, also from Denmark – which I will look forward to getting to know. Well, back to the story: We had a full programme of well-known speakers from the accessible publishing world – and a few new ones (to me, that is) – and they all had important takeaways. I was not disappointed.

Let me enlighten you with my key takeaways – things I did not know beforehand, or statements I find important to know:

Key Points from the Speakers

First up, Molly Watt (accessibility and UX expert):

  • Not all visually impaired prefers audio to text as their first choice
  • Many visually impaired rely on color adjustment, text scaling in order to enhance text visually
  • When designing reading apps, give users multiple choices for color adjustments, scaling and margins

Richard Orme (cool DAISY dude … CEO of the DAISY Consortium):

  • Try to think accessibility broader
  • Focus on visually impared, but also on how physical handicaps and situations can be helped
  • Understanding who you are doing this for will make you (ebook authors and RS developers) create smarter solutions for ALL users and situations

Daniel Saidi (freelance software engineer):

  • Being reachable, is not being accessible

Cristina Mussinelli (Secretary General of Fondazione LIA) on what “Born Accessible” means:

  • Define a specific procedure aimed at defining accessibility checks (internal or external) of the publication
  • Adopt international standard metadata schemas and distribute them along the value chain
  • Provide to end users an accurate, but friendly, description of the accessibility features available in the publication
  • Use the checkers that already exists for accessibility validation, like Ace.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel – You don’t have to go through the same workload that we did. Seek help from organisations that are further in the process, like LIA. We are here to help

Wendy Reid (Accessibility and Publishing Standards Lead at Rakuten Kobo – @wendy_a_reid):

  • You can now create accessible audio books with W3C Audiobooks specs. Plz, feel free to invent its checker

Luc Audrain (former Head of Digitalization, Hachette Livre):

Lunch Break was Tool Time

I stayed glued to the screen during the lunch break, watching the two tool presentations.

Elisa Molinari (LIA Project Manager with M.A. in Italian literature) showcased some best practice for writing image descriptions, and how not to.

Also from Fondazione LIA was Gregorio Pellegrino (Chief Accessible Officer & Computer Engineer) who showcased how their pilot project can create image descriptions using AI algorithms. Still work in progress but I find this pilot project very interesting. You can find more on YouTube, or contact LIA directly.

Richard Orme showcased how to use Ace by DAISY and SMART to self certify your accessible EPUB publications to WCAG Level AA. (I hope this video will be on YouTube for others to see).

How to Accomplish the Move into Accessible Publishing?

Well, some changes are easily implemented, others will take months to get right. But we (the publishing ecosystem) have 4 years to get it right. And like you would begin any new journey – like climbing Mount A11y – or eating an elephant – start with one step at a time. One mouthful at a time. It is important NOT to be overwhelmed, but be excited to begin implementing accessibiliy into your publishing workflow. Start now. Reach out. Take the first step… or bite.

Thank you, NIPI-folks, for a lovely inspiring conference.

(If I did not mention you, I am sorry, you were not boring – I just have an extreme appetite for tech info)

About NIPI

The Nordic Inclusive Publishing Initiative (NIPI) is a Nordic network of governmental agencies committed to provide accessible information, products and services to people with print disabilities.

The Include! Conference aims to connect key participants from the Nordic world of reading and inclusion, with the goal of initiating the joint work on inclusive publishing. #nipi_include! Go to Programme and Speakers

A Quick Guide to Accessibility Issues for Indie Authors

ALLIA logo

With the rise in advancing technologies, making our self-published books accessible to everyone is becoming easier and easier. This post from the Alliance of Independent Author’s AskALLi team, dives into accessibility issues for indie authors and how you can make your books more accessible. With thanks to ALLi Partner member Jens Troeger from Bookalope for his contributions to this post.

Accessibility Issues for Indie Authors: What’s it all About?

What is an accessible ebook exactly? That’s the question I’ve never stopped asking. Over the years, I’ve helped numerous authors and publishers transform their book manuscripts into well-designed print books and accessible ebooks. They usually have a good idea of how the printed book should look, but haven’t thought much about its digital equivalent. And while many authors and publishers assume that a digital book is much the same as its printed counterpart, it is in fact an entirely different design incarnation.

Accessibility Issues for Indie Authors: The Difference Between Print and Digital

The best way to get you thinking about print books and digital books is by looking at them as two different presentations of the same content. Let’s refresh what we know about book content so far; it’s its text, images, and tables. The main narrative text is usually structured into chapters and sections. It may contain other elements like footnotes, endnotes, quotations, poems, and so forth. Traditionally, we express the text’s structure and elements visually; by changing the text size, fonts, and using white spaces. This visual expression is then printed onto paper — once printed, the book’s design doesn’t change anymore.

When I talk with authors about the digital incarnation of their books, I often ask them, “How would your book look on a small phone? Or on that big thirty-inch computer screen? What if I change the font and make it tiny or really large?” I’m trying to get authors to understand that the digital book obeys different visual design rules and so needs to be reconsidered entirely — the book has to be redesigned for the digital medium, as a digital product. It has to interact and compete with the wider range of print and digital books available; and this all starts with how you approach the designs of your book. Richard Hendel, a well-known book designer and author himself, summarized this duality of the book in the essay The conundrum of the Ebook, published in his book Aspects of Contemporary Book Design. It’s worth a read, if you’re curious about this topic! I think that if we can grasp this duality, we can begin to understand what designing accessible ebooks is all about.

Accessibility Issues for Indie Authors: Why Bother?

Like all serious authors and publishers, you care about your books and your readers. You’d like more people to buy your books and appreciate your work; that’s your objective. But I think that in addition to expanding the market reach of your books, you still want to be inclusive and respectful by making your books accessible to all readers, whether they live with an impairment or not. Overall, prioritising accessibility is crucial for your image as an author, and for your branding as a publisher.

In technical terms, then, we’d like to build accessible ebooks. Last year, Booknet Canada published a lengthy blog titled Accessible Ebook Publishing in Canada: The Business Case which details the many aspects of accessible ebooks and their relevance for business, illustrated with some interesting numbers that all emphasize the importance of accessible ebooks. In short, there’s no avoiding the necessity of building accessible ebooks in our current climate, and that’s why I think we need to up our design game.

Accessibility Issues for Indie Authors: Working with Rich Content

So, what can you do as an author to make sure that your book — print or digital — looks great for everyone, including impaired readers?

To answer that question, let’s take a look at how some people use assistive technologies to read digital content, websites, and ebooks. For example, your web-browser and most modern reading apps and devices have a “text to speech” feature which allows a book to be read out loud. You can try it out for yourself, and listen to a synthesized voice read back to you the content of a web page or an ebook. Chances are that what you hear is confusing; a stream of words stringed together in a seemingly random order — perhaps even without intonations, pauses, or changes in speech. This content is not accessible, and you’d have a similar experience with an electronic Braille reader presenting such content to a visually impaired or blind reader.

This is why it’s important to structure your book’s content; you don’t want the message to be lost in the medium. I’ve mentioned above that text structure is independent of presenting that structure visually — because with read-aloud or with a Braille reader there is no visual presentation of the book’s structure. And while ebooks have a well-defined way of implementing structured text, as an author you want to have an intimate understanding of your book’s structural elements: you need to know which paragraphs are chapter or section headings, which ones are narrative text, and which ones are poems or quotations. This shows you’re committed to creating the best version possible of your book, where all the different parts work together.

The same holds true for inline formatting. Traditional book design uses italics to emphasize text or for a phrase in another language, or to denote a book or article title, whereas bold text is occasionally used to visualize a strong emphasis. Notice how we differentiate between visual presentation (e.g. “italic” or “bold”) and its intended meaning (e.g. “emphasized”) — it is the meaning that you, as the author, want to be clear about, and that your book designer and ebook implementer must express in some visual way or another.

And then we come to images and illustrations; that’s where accessibility and ebooks get interesting. In print, we use images to support a narrative visually or perhaps to illustrate data correlations as graphs. For accessible ebooks, text is always preferred over an image, but often we can’t do that. To make images accessible, think about explaining and describing the image meaningfully in the context of the narrative. If you were to replace the image with a text box, what would a visually impaired or blind reader (or listener) of your book get in place of the image? This is called an “alternative text” for your images, and such alternative text needs to be meaningful and attached to every image and illustration in your book. Remember, it all comes back providing information to make your content accessible, and then presenting that content for different media.

When we work with images, we must also consider their color and contrast. There are different kinds of color blindness, which means that some readers won’t be able to see your pictures the way you do. One solution would be to change the picture itself — e.g. working with black-and-white or avoiding certain colors. In any case, we must constantly ensure to supply a meaningful alternative text for our images. In addition, it is good practice to avoid inlining images into the text flow. Large drop caps, foreign language letters, or mathematical formulas must be made part of the content as text to ensure that they are accessible and meaningful to the reader.

Dyslexia is another important aspect to keep in mind. It is a reading disorder that can manifest in different ways, and you can get a sense of how a dyslexic reader may perceive text on this website. Modern ereader apps now ship with typefaces that are especially designed for dyslexic readers; their letters are purposefully irregular in order to break the symmetrical and monotonous design of common text faces.

While less common, tables also need to be considered carefully when we rethink our content for an accessible ebook. We often spend a lot of time formatting a table for a printed page; yet, for an ebook, we’d need to reconsider whether a table would work at all! Here, too, it helps to imagine how a table would look like on a phone display; both in portrait and landscape mode. Maybe for an ebook a table isn’t a good choice at all, and we’d want to explore alternative ways to present the content, such as a bullet list or as plain text. Whatever we choose, the goal is to consistently strive towards an intelligent and inclusive book design which will resonate with all types of readers independently of the type of reading medium.

Accessibility Issues for Indie Authors: Piecing it Together

By now you’ve probably noticed that authoring content which works well for both print and accessible ebooks requires some more work than most people realise. But I believe it’s worth the effort, and not only for the sake of your readers. It challenges you, the author, to understand your text and its intended structural presentation from the inside out; with no page left unturned.

Now that we’ve edited our manuscript, understood the intended structure of our content, and come up with helpful alternative text for all images, one question remains… How exactly do we create a functional, valid, and accessible ebook? Well, in the same way we go about creating a well-designed print book; we find a good designer, or we find a good tool that does the work efficiently and reliably for us.

Bookalope is a tool that publishing houses, book designers, and self-publishing authors alike use to create fully accessible ebooks with just a few clicks. Being a software veteran by trade, I’ve built the Bookalope toolset over years of working with digital and print books. My mission is to make the process as easy and comfortable as possible for myself and other professional users. I want to put the creativity back into the book design; minimising effort but maximising quality. So, here is a brief introduction to creating accessible, beautiful books using these tools.

After uploading your manuscript, the Bookalope AI gets to work; it analyses the visual styling of the text to extract the intended structure — exactly what we’ll need for making the ebook accessible. Sometimes, the original visual styling is a little ambiguous, or it’s something Bookalope hasn’t encountered yet. But we can still review and adjust the extracted rich content. And that’s almost all there is to do, before you can download your accessible ebook.

While Bookalope takes care of almost everything for you, you may still be curious about some ebook technicalities, and might want to ensure that your ebook is indeed valid and accessible. Here’s what you’d need to do next…

The easiest way is to open the ebook yourself on your phone, tablet, or laptop and see how it looks; then, have it read back to you. On your laptop, resize the window of your reading app or browser, change the font size, and invert the color theme. Make sure that the table of contents is linked into the book, and that the glossary and index are linked throughout. Traditionally, both reference the page numbers of the printed book, so make sure that those print page numbers are also built into your ebook.

If you’d like to get even more technical, you can have the ebook checked by EPUBCheck to make sure it’s implemented properly, and by the Ace tool to check if the built-in accessibility information (if any) is valid. If you’d like to take your tests to the next level, check out Flightdeck!

Bookalope does all of that for you, though, so you don’t need to worry. If you’re having your ebook built by a vendor, you should always ask them to provide you with these validation results.

Accessibility Issues for Indie Authors: Summary

At first, this all may seem like a daunting process. Granted, it takes some additional effort to prepare and enrich your book’s content, but building an accessible ebook is its own reward. And, with the right tools, it’s not that difficult to do.

In the end, you’ll have a good chance of increasing your book’s market reach. Your readers will be thankful for your efforts, and will be able to enjoy your writing no matter how they consume your book. To me, that’s the answer to what makes an ebook accessible and inclusive; designing a one-of-a-kind book product that touches the hears and minds of all readers. And isn’t that why you wrote your book in the first place?


Accessibility Issues for Indie Authors: 4 Quick Tips

Vellum – Large Print

Large print books are books that are formatted and printed with much larger typeface than usual. Vellum is a formatting software designed to make formatting your books easier, quicker and more intuitive. And it really does do just that. One of the benefits of Vellum though, is that it has presets that can help you turn your book into a large print edition in just the click of a button.

When you create a large print edition, make sure you increase your trim size and font size. It also helps to create some kind of stamp, sticker or indicator that goes on the front of the cover to promote the fact its large print. Once your large print book is loaded, you’ll need to connect it to the sales page of your other book editions and don’t forget that because it’s a new format, you will need a separate ISBN

Closed Captions

According to Wikipedia,

“Closed captioning and subtitling are both processes of displaying text on a television, video screen, or other visual display to provide additional or interpretive information.”

You might not realize, but there is actually a difference between the two. Subtitles assume that the viewer can hear the audio. Whereas closed captioning assumes the viewer cannot. So as well as providing dialogue information, it will convey information like background noises, phones ringing and other auditory clues.

YouTube provides the opportunity for close captions on all your videos. Go to the creator studio, click edit video and then subtitles/CC to edit. You also have the option to upload your own subtitle files.

Rev.com is often cited as one of the best closed captioning softwares on the market. If you use transcription software then you can use that to load up your captions.

Audio Books

Are your books in audio yet? The audiobook market is booming.

And the audiobook market is still comparably young compared to print and digital. But for those who are either visually impaired and therefore listen to audio, or those that prefer audio anyway, you’re missing an entire market and section of your potential audience. If you don’t want to record and narrate your own audiobooks, consider searching for a narrator through places like Findaway Voices.

Digital Devices

Technology has advanced considerably in the last few years, and reading has become infinitely more accessible since the advent of the Kindle and other digital reading devices. These devices have the ability to produce high contrast reading displays, different colored backgrounds, font changes like using OpenDyslexic—a purpose created font—for those people with dyslexia that prefer it. If your books are only in print, then it’s time to turn them into digital ebooks.

Accessibility Issues for Indie Authors: A Final Word

If you’d like to read or download guidelines on creating accessible books, Dave Gunn has written a guide that was published by the Accessible Books Consortium, in conjunction with the International Authors Forum. To download click here.

 

About Jens Troeger: Jens is a software veteran with an MS and PhD in computer science, who’s been building software for over thirty years. He is also a passionate typophile and book lover. Jens started Bookalope several years ago out of his personal need for efficient and intelligent tools that help him design print books and digital books. What started out as a pet project has now grown into a powerful yet easy to use commercial product. When Jens isn’t glued to his laptop, he often travels to remote places to dive and photograph underwater. You can find Jens Troeger on Twitter.

 

CSUN 2021

March 6th to 14th, 2021

The 36th CSUN Assistive Technology Conference will be held in March next year and it promises to be as exceptional as ever. Join the large crowd of delegates online to explore new technologies designed to assist people with disabilities.​ A few of the sessions which are publishing related will be delivered by DAISY staff and friends.

Date

March 6-14,2021

Venue

Online

Learn More

For further information and registration details visit the CSUN Conference website  and follow #CSUNATC21 on twitter for all the latest news

Do More With WordToEPUB (W)

Do more with WordToEPUB opening slideIn our series of free weekly webinars December 9th saw a session focused on WordToEPUB.  Following on from earlier webinars, this event gave us a quick refresh, a summary of currently supported EPUB features and then delved into what is new and what we can expect in the future from this ground-breaking software.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Kirsi Yianne, Celia, guest host
  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium
  • Joseph Polizzotto, UC Berkeley

Session Overview

Richard Orme reminded us of the benefits of WordToEPUB with a quick refresh at the beginning of the webinar. WordToEPUB is free to download and use.  If you can start with an accessible structured word document you will end up with a beautiful EPUB that can be used on any platform or reading app.

Supported EPUB Features

WordToEPUB currently supports many EPUB features and these include”

  • Navigation
  • Semantics
  • Accessibility: images and alt text, navigating tables, inline language markup, MathML, low vision friendly fonts

What’s New in Version 1.05

Version 1.05 released this month includes the following new features:

New Default Style Sheets

Available out of the box for new installations of WordToEPUB, new default style sheets improve the visual presentation of the EPUB. Including features such as justification options, superscript reference numbers, improved paragraph spacing and better leading the new style sheet option needs to be manually selected for versions of WordToEPUB before 1.05

Faster More Reliable Language Detection

If the user makes sure that the correct languages have been selected within their Word document then WordToEPUB is able to use the improved algorithms to detect language changes, improving the reading experience for readers using Read Aloud or screen readers.

New Options for Page Numbers

Print page tags and custom indicators are now supported, enabling quick and easy navigation to specific locations within the document based on their print page equivalent.

Optional Metadata Summary Page

Ensuring accurate metadata is embedded within EPUB files is recommended good practice, and WordToEPUB now offers the ability to generate a metadata summary page at the end of the EPUB  document to expose this useful information, including a summary of accessibility.

Edit with Sigil

WordToEPUB now offers the workflow option to automatically open the converted EPUB in the Sigil EPUB editor to make any adjustments to the document.

New Quality Assurance Wizard

Another workflow addition allows for the use of a QA wizard after conversion. This wizard is comprised of 4 steps:

  1. Validate the file with EPUBCheck
  2. Launch Ace by DAISY for automated accessibility testing
  3. Check the experience in a reading app – Thorium is a suggested option
  4. Manually check the file for anything further

New Option to Generate Clean HTML Version

This option has been added to the preferences dialog (“select other output formats”) and is often used when shorter articles or book segments need converting as they can be opened directly within a web browser. The underlying semantic level is excellent although it doesn’t have as many stylistic functions as an EPUB.

What’s Coming Soon

To finish the session Richard mentioned a few items which we can expect to appear in the not too distant future:

  • Improved style sheets with embedded font options
  • Expandable content in <details>
  • Support for Math Type expressions

Related Resources

Discover the other webinars we’re running!

Inspiring Words from Industry Leaders: Interview with Pedro Milliet, Fênix Editorial

Pedro Milliet, head shotInclusive Publishing is continuing with its popular series of interviews with industry leaders, focusing on their approach to accessibility. Pedro Milliet, Director of Accessibility Development at Fênix Editorial has worked tirelessly for many years to improve the accessibility of published content for all readers.

It is very important to listen to people who read your books and who use accessibility features. Understanding their experience and listening to first hand analysis helps a lot to establish quality goals and create new solutions or improve current ones.

We are very proud to welcome Fênix Editorial to our Inclusive Publishing Partner program,

Why is inclusive publishing important to you and/or your organization? 

For the past 15 years I have been dedicated to accessibility. Until 2017 this was linked to the institutional field, working, together with Eduardo Perez, in the development of tools and processes for the production and reading of accessible digital books: first in DAISY format and then in EPUB 3. My personal connection with inclusive publications comes from before, when in the 90’s I had an exceptional blind musician as a partner. Since then, the issue of accessibility to information, knowledge, culture and art has become a challenge and a motive. I participated in the DAISY Consortium Council for 7 years, and in the development of public policies for accessible textbooks in Brazil.

In 2018 I migrated from the institutional field to an editorial technology company. This year, I’ve joined two old friends and excellent professionals, Paulo Henrique Santos Pedro and Maurício Barreto, in Fênix Editorial. For the three of us, inclusive publishing, in addition to being a citizenship right provided for within the Brazilian Inclusion Law, is a strategy of universal access to our publications. It is an ethical and political commitment, and a market action.

Do you have a top tip for others new to accessibility?

It is very important to listen to people who read your books and who use accessibility features. Understanding their experience and listening to first hand analysis helps a lot to establish quality goals and create new solutions or improve current ones.

What you wish you knew about accessibility 5 or 10 years ago?

Knowledge about the extensive global collaborative community network, dedicated to the development and dissemination of Inclusive Publishing, is always very handy.

What do you think will be the biggest game changer for inclusive publishing in the next few years?

Natural Language AI assistants, AI driven Image description, Expressive 3D Avatars for Sign Language real time translation, and the adoption of the latest full HTML and Web specs are all going to impact accessibility within publishing. The advancement of local and international public policies, such as the European Accessibility Act, the Marrakesh Treaty and the Inclusion Law in Brazil, will also be important incentives for the inclusive publishing evolution.

For those still on the fence, why should they consider accessibility?

There are a number of reasons: accessibility brings new ways of facing publishing challenges, it transforms in-house processes and it improves product quality. Accessibility also expands your market reach and universalizes your clients’ base.

How have good inclusive publishing practices influenced the majority of your readers?

Good, accessible content improves the readability for all our readers. It allows them to listen when they cannot see the text, or to read on any device or platform. But this happens not only on the product side, it also affects the development of reading apps, optimizing its usability and improving overall quality for readers.

Why should companies consider publishing a policy on Inclusive Publishing?

An inclusive publishing policy helps users to identify companies that are committed to high accessibility standards, and this, in turn, helps companies identify customers. It is also important internally, to inspire co-workers and partner companies.

Can you sum up your attitude towards inclusive publishing in one sentence

Universalizing the access to our content, using inclusive publishing, improves our business and our lives.

Do you have any final thoughts on accessibility or inclusive publishing practices you would like to share?

I encourage everyone involved in the publishing industry to adopt accessibility as a primary tool. I am sure it will bring new opportunities and transform your product. New challenges arise all time, and accessibility is always at the edge for new solutions to read, listen, touch and perceive.

European Accessibility Act: A Chance for Publishing

October 16th, 2020

Last year, the European Accessibility Act was passed. This event, organized by the IPA and the conference team at FBF will highlight the opportunities of the European Accessibility Act for publishers and feature statements from the Presidents of the Federation of European Publishers (FEP) and IPA. DAISY friends and IPP members will be taking part.

Earlier this year, DAISY ran a webinar on the EAA and the full recording is available for you to prep for this event!

Date

October 16, 2020

Venue

Online

Learn More

Event details can be found at the Frankfurt Book Fair website

WordToEPUB Wins ALPSP Award

ALPSP Awards Winner BadgeThe DAISY Consortium is proud to have been named a winner of the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing 2020 for our work on WordToEPUB. This ground-breaking new tool offers a free, simple and straightforward method of converting structured Word documents to valid and accessible EPUB files.

The inspiration for the WordToEPUB tool was academic publishing, and in this time of Covid, educational materials are being digitized into accessible files that are a lifeline to students with disabilities unable to study at school. WordToEPUB has revolutionized the conversion process for many users already and this award will only help to improve awareness.

ALPSP were looking for “any new development, product, service or project which is both innovative and of significant value to scholarly communication. The winners must demonstrate excellence in terms of originality, innovation, value to the community, utility and long-term viability.”

DAISY were short-listed alongside 7 other very worthwhile initiatives selected from a pool of 34 applicants and we wish to congratulate everyone on their achievement.

WordToPUB is the work of many volunteers around the world, and on behalf of everyone involved we extend our thanks to ALPSP for the recognition this award brings.

Details of the award and all the finalists can be found on the ALPSP Innovation Awards page.