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Free Webinar: WordToEPUB Extended Tutorial – Accessible EPUB in Seconds

July 29th, 2020

You can start making accessible EPUBs after just a few seconds with Microsoft Word and the free WordToEPUB tool from the DAISY Consortium, but you can also achieve much more. This practical session will demonstrate how to get started with WordToEPUB and introduce some of the features beyond the effective one-click solution, including custom styling, page numbering control, content with multiple languages, adding a cover image and customizing metadata.

Date

July 29th, 2020

Venue

Online via Zoom or via the DAISY YouTube channel afterwards

Learn More

Sign up for the July 29th webinar

For information on the whole DAISY webinar series on offer you can register your interest on the Webinar Information Page

Welcoming New Inclusive Publishing Partners

We are very pleased to welcome three new organizations to our Inclusive Publishing Partner program. Pearson, Microsoft and Fenix Editorial are now among the select group of companies who are enjoying the benefits of the IPP program. Congratulations to all involved and we look forward to having you on board.

The IPP program is open to anyone working within the publishing industry and we are proud to include Google, Adobe,VitalSource & Red Shelf amongst our esteemed list of partners. A full list of members is available and we welcome your interest. Get in touch so see how the benefits available to you via this program might be able to change the way you approach accessibility and enable us to design and produce tools and solutions that work for you.

A World Tour of Inclusive Publishing Initiatives (W)

World Tour of Inclusive Publishing Initiatives opening slideIn our series of free weekly webinars July 1st saw a session focused on activities taking place globally to promote inclusive publishing practices.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Hugo Setzer, Manual Moderno and The International Publishers Association
  • Deborah Nelson, eBound Canada
  • Brad Turner, Benetech
  • Kirsi Yianne, NIPI and IFLA

Session Overview

This week we mixed things up a little and had a brief whistle-stop tour of what is happening around the world before opening up to our esteemed panel for a larger discussion for the greater portion of the webinar. Richard Orme guided us through various initiatives from a variety of countries. There is so much happening and this is a truly exciting time for accessible publishing everywhere. We hope that some of the initiatives presented will inspire you in your market and help you to further the good work within the publishing industry.

During this time we also ran a poll to find out where our audience hails from: 56% from North America, 30% from Europe, 9% from Asia and 5% from South America so we were delighted to have such a global audience with us on this journey.

Panel Discussion

The discussion opened with a lively chat focusing on a few key themes as listed below. For a fuller overview we recommend listening to the video recording.

The Accessibility Eco-System

Hugo Setzer empahisized the importance of an entire eco-system that works together to achieve accessible experiences. Deborah Nelson sees awareness of vendors as being a hurdle within the eco-system and how we should be encouraging users to motivate these partners into action.

End User Awareness

Kirsi Yianne discussed engagement with end users to drive awareness. NIPI have worked hard to understand the needs of print disabled readers and how their needs should involve the entire eco-system.

Supporting Regulation

Kirsi Yianne reminded us all that the European Accessibility Act will come into force in 2025. Standards are vital to help with compliance to the new rulings.

International Standards and Compliance

All our panelists commented on the importance of international standards to drive compliance.

Brad Turner explained how the Benetech GCA Certification System is underpinned by international standards. GCA uses WCAG Level 2 as their gold standard. Compliance in the USA tends to be at an educational level and Higher Ed establishments are looking to publish accessible materials.

Deborah Nelson told us about the plans in Canada to develop a certification scheme as a result of their Landscape Research report. eBound Canada plans to run a pilot of the Benetech GCA scheme to see what certification will look like for 250 independent Canadian publishers.

Advocacy,Training and Expert Support

Training and awareness is a major portion of the Canadian research project and Deborah Nelson puts the end user at the very center of this project, helping to build a knowledge base and an understanding of accessibility needs.

The work of organizations such as DAISY, WIPO & ABC drives awareness building. Hugo Setzer pointed our audience towards the practical training tools provided by ABC, commenting that may publishers around the world are working hard to ensure the accessibility of their content.

Call to Action

Each panelist was asked to briefly tell us what our main takeaway from this session should be: a call to action

  • Deborah Nelson: Make sure you are able to communicate the business case
  • Brad Turner: Learn about Born Accessible and take the first step by reaching out for help
  • Hugo Setzer: Sign the Accessible Publishing Charter which is available in 7 languages from ABC
  • Kirsi Yianne: Do not wait until 2025 for the European Accessibility Act. Start learning now

In a final poll about the greatest perceived challenges to implementing inclusive publishing practices the webinar audience voted as follows:

  • 33% Business case is hard to make
  • 30% Do not know where to start
  • 30% No strong laws to make it happen
  • 7% The tools don’t exist

Related Resources

Discover the other webinars we’re running!

Image Description: Advice From the Front Lines

a splattered ink blotter authoring equipment-notebook, sketch paper, post it notes, cell phone, paper clip, pen and pencilA few weeks ago The DAISY Consortium ran a webinar on image description and we were lucky to have some practical advice and top tips on hand from a variety of publishers. This blog piece looks at that advice and shows how different publishers are approaching the issue of image description which can be very different depending on the size and genre of publishing activity.

Image descriptions and how to handle them effectively were one of the greatest challenges identified by publishers in our seasonal accessibility survey. Do you ask your authors to contribute to the creation of image descriptions? Do you bake them into your internal workflows or do you choose to out-source them to a third party vendor who has an expertise in this area? All perfectly valid and reasonable solutions but how do you know what is the right path for your organization? There is no magic, one solution fits all answer to this but we will endeavour to shed some light on why the various options may or may not work for you.

Some Top Tips to Bear in Mind

A number of very useful tips were presented by Valerie Morrison from The Georgia Institute of Technology which will help to frame the advice from our contributing publishers. These have been listed next to the best practice advice from our publishers, where appropriate.

Kogan Page

Kogan Page is an independent publishing company founded in 1967 and headquartered in London, with branches in New York and New Delhi. Kogan Page specializes in business books and digital content, with over 1,000 titles published in key subject areas.

Current Practice

  • Image descriptions are outsourced to vendors rather than authors.
  • One vendor has team in-house
  • Another has a panel
  • Decided against author descriptions
  • Alt text and extended descriptions are provided

Advice

  • Develop guidelines for your vendors. Top Tip: Make sure you encourage your vendors to consider the “cognitive load” that is being presented to readers
  • Develop a small library of ‘exemplar figures/tables’
  • Control costs
  • Spot check vendor descriptions for QA

Macmillan Learning

Educational publisher, Macmillan Learning is one of the leading educational technology companies in North America. With a number of offices throughout the US, Macmillan Learning has been a driving force in accessible publishing, gaining awards and recognition for their innovative and inclusive approach.

Current Practice

Image descriptions are generated at Macmillan via a variety of different routes, depending on the nature of the content:

  • Originated by Authors
  • Outsourced as part of the ebook creation process
  • Description specialists with subject matter expertise may be the best choice for technical titles
  • In-house authoring where subject matter knowledge is available

Advice

  • Aim for iterative improvement rather than for perfection to begin with
  • Descriptions are content so you should remember to apply the same rules you use for anything else you publish
  • Be careful with the length of your descriptions – don’t err on the side of too much or too little. Top Tip: Try to keep to 125 characters or the length of a standard tweet

John Wiley & Sons

John Wiley & Sons is an American multinational publishing company founded in 1807 that focuses on academic publishing and instructional materials. The company produces books, journals, and encyclopedias, in print and electronically, as well as online products and services, training materials, and educational materials for undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students.

Current Practice

  • All alt text is written by trained subject matter experts
  • Training includes understanding how descriptions are used with assistive technology
  • All alt text also goes through a QA process
  • Involve end users
  • Alt text creation begins during EPUB production
  • Care is taken when images are re-used

Advice

  • Become familiar with the different image concepts. Top Tip: Consider different modalities to convey meaning and to avoid overlap
  • Understand the difference between short and long descriptions, and when to apply them to an image. Top Tip: Some images don’t require lengthy descriptions. A photograph of a specific person might only need their name, a simple graphic might only need one sentence.
  • Create internal requirements around style and language to help create consistency in the learner’s experience
  • Alt text should not be used to teach, but to describe. Top Tip: Descriptions should be neutral and informative
  • Don’t forget spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Top Tip: don’t include any hard line breaks either and avoid acronyms and symbols (a screen reader will read everything)
  • And validate, validate, validate.

W.W. Norton

W. W. Norton & Company is an employee-owned publisher in the United States, which publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, college textbooks, cookbooks, art books, and professional books

Current Practice

  • The norm at W. W. Norton is to outsource to image description specialists, toward the end of the book’s production cycle
  • In-house editorial staff are responsible for reviewing all third-party image descriptions and are trained on this quite extensively.
  • Editorial assistants do sometimes author image descriptions in-house. Mainly when a non-STEM book revises and only a small number of images change
  • STEM or complex materials always require a specialist
  • Authors volunteer to describe images rarely. It’s preferable that they spend their time on content development

Advice

  • Aim for an equivalent experience to how people consume images visually. This is best accomplished by a short description and structured extended descriptions. Top Tip: Work from the general to the specific so that a sense of what is being described can be accessed immediately.
  • Write guidelines for yourself and other authors so that your chosen nomenclature is clear—whether you use “alt text,” “image description,” “short description,” etc.
  • There is no single solution for all images. Best practices and examples will help but authoring alt text ultimately requires quite a lot of executive functioning and decision making.

4 different publishers and 4 very different ways of approaching image description. What works for you? We’d love to hear about your experiences and any top tips that you can pass on to others. If we can share our various approaches then we can learn from each other and find a workflow that suits us. Drop us a line at office@inclusivepublishing.org

All 4 of our contributors support the development of in-house guidance to establish methods of working and house-style for a consistent approach to image description. These guidelines should be made available to 3rd party vendors or authors if that is the route you have chosen. An in-house quality check is necessary and during this time it is really important to keep in mind the needs of the reader and the context in which the specific images appear. Describing the meaning rather than the appearance will ensure you are considerate of the end users needs.

You may wish to register for our next webinar on image description entitled: The Art and Science of Image Description which takes a deeper dive with two more experts in this field.

Describing Images in Publications—Guidance, Best Practices and the Promise of Technology (W)

Describing Images Opening SlideIn our series of free weekly webinars June 17th saw a session focused onthe process of authoring quality image descriptions which are essential for accessibility.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Valerie Morrison—Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Charles La Pierre—Benetech
  • Gregorio Pellegrino—The LIA Foundation

Session Overview

Practical Tips and Advice for Writing Image Descriptions

Valerie Morrison gave us the benefit of her expertise to open this webinar giving our audience a list of best practice tips which can be applied to all image descriptions. These included:

  • summarize what you see to begin with in one general and informative sentence
  • keep your description neutral and informative
  • use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. Avoid hard line breaks.
  • avoid acronyms and symbols (remember a screen reader will be reading everything you include)
  • Work from general to specific to provide a framework for the listener
  • Think about providing information in multiple modalities to vary the experience
  • Make sure that the surrounding text does not already describe the image. Avoid overlap

Knowing how long a description should be and when to stop is also important and Valerie recommends keeping to approx 125 characters. It can be hard to restrict the length of a description but screen reader software has limits. If an image is simply a photograph of a person, for example, it may be that the name of that person will suffice (depending on the context). Simple graphics can usually be described in one sentence and, whilst this can be challenging, this makes it easier for the listener—you don’t want to overload them.

Valerie’s slides give lots of examples of all of these useful notes with guidance given on describing symbols, charts and graphs.

Resources

Charles La Pierre presented the work of the DIAGRAM Center and the various resources that it offers the publishing industry. The POET tool is an image description training tool which focuses on:

  • When to describe images—is the information contained within the image essential to understanding?
  • How to describe images
  • Practice describing images

The Diagrammar resource is a framework for making images and graphics accessible. This data model provides a structured, standard way for image description data to be modeled.

Using AI to Automate Image Description

Gregorio Pellegrino presented the recent Italian project testing AI tools within the publishing industry with the goal of producing born accessible content. Results from this project revealed that:

  • some tools are better than others at identifying certain types of images
  • while the image category can be identified, more work is required before image descriptions are reliably produced

Depending on how images are classified, depends on which tool should be used and the next phase of this project will look to define an all-embracing taxonomy for image classification. This will enable the creation of datasets for training.

Publisher Approaches

Richard Orme presented comments and thoughts from 4 publishers who kindly agreed to participate in this webinar. See the slides for their full thoughts and comments

Kogan Page

Current Practice—descriptions are outsourced to vendors as it was decided not to proceed with author descriptions. These vendors provide alt text and extended descriptions.

Advice—Develop guidelines for your vendors with a small library of examples. Make sure you control costs and spot check descriptions when submitted by vendors.

Macmillan Learning

Current Practice—image descriptions are produced by a number of sources: the author, outsourced alongside ebook creation, description specialists or in-house

Advice—Descriptions are content so the same rules apply, be careful with the length of your descriptions

John Wiley & Sons

Current Practice—Alt text is written by subject matter experts which goes through a QA process. In-house training is provided to ensure understanding of descriptions are used with AT.

Advice—Become familiar with different image concepts, the various types of descriptions and when to apply them. Remember that alt text is there to describe, not teach.

W.W. Norton

Current Practice—image descriptions are outsourced to specialists towards the end of production. All descriptions are checked in-house for which there is extensive training provided

Related Resources

Discover the other webinars we’re running!

Free Webinar: The Accessible EPUB Ecosystem in Action—Following the Journey from Publisher to Student

July 8th, 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.

A considerable amount of work is required from multiple parties to ensure the smooth journey of born accessible publications from creation to consumption, especially in education where the content can be more complex and is often delivered through a Learning Management System.

This webinar will explore the considerations required at each stage, along with some of the common pitfalls to be avoided, to help ensure students have access to the content they need.

Date

July 8th, 2020

Venue

Online via Zoom or via the DAISY YouTube channel afterwards

Learn More

Sign up for the July 8th webinar

For information on the whole DAISY webinar series on offer you can register your interest on the Webinar Information Page

Publishing, Accessibility, W3C Standards. Where Are We Going? (W)

Publishing Accessibility and W3C Standards opening slideIn our series of free weekly webinars  June 3rd saw a session focused on the future of the W3C, entitled Publishing, Accessibility, W3C Standards. Where Are We Going? The EPUB 3 standard can support accessibility to a degree never seen before. It’s already the most popular and most accessible publishing standard, but can we do better? Our speakers explored this theme during their webinar giving us an overview of what the publishing industry can expect from Publishing@W3C in the future.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Wendy Reid, Rakuten Kobo
  • Dave Cramer, Hachette Book Group
  • Tzviya Siegman, Wiley

Session Overview

Wendy Reid, Chair of the Publishing WG and Chair of the upcoming EPUB3 WG at W3C, opened this webinar by giving us an overview of the recent W3C survey conducted to understand how EPUB was being used within our industry. For publishers, EPUB is indeed the format of choice and it is very popular although , overall, it was concluded that publishers need it to do more. There is some misunderstanding about EPUB and better communication and spec improvements are needed to rectify this.

Dave Cramer, Chair of the former EPUB Community Group and Chair of the upcoming EPUB3 WG at W3C, gave us some background on how Publishing@W3C works and how we need to be using the W3C process as a tool to make improvements to our industry standards. The EPUB3 WG has seen 20 years of dedication to the EPUB spec but interoperability challenges, in particular, demand refinement and the new goals for the spec focus on these as well as other overdue alterations.

Tzviya Siegman, Chair of the Publishing WG and member of the W3C Advisory Board, discussed the EPUB accessibility spec—which she hopes will be a formal W3C recommendation by 2021. The EPUB Accessibility Taskforce is also working on a metadata project—The Accessibility Metadata Crosswalk, to identify gaps within the accessibility metadata in major industry standards.

Tzviya also discussed using DPUB ARIA and explained that if you use it correctly, how it can greatly enhance the reading experience for screen reader users. However, if used incorrectly the result can be quite the reverse so she suggests not using it unless competency levels are high.

WCAG Accessibility guidelines expect an update in Q4 2020 with several new success criteria to be included.

Wendy introduced us to the Audiobook specification which is on track to reach recommended status in Q3 2020, allowing for the creation of born accessible audiobooks and providing a mainstream standard for the creation of audiobook titles.

Our presenters gave us many resources and recommendations throughout the webinar and the Q & A at the end was most informative. Make sure you listen to some of the thought provoking questions and our panels expert thoughts on these topics.

Related Resources

Discover the other webinars we’re running!

Leveraging InDesign for Accessible EPUB Creation (W)

Leveraging InDesign for Accessible EPUB Creation opening slideIn our series of free weekly webinars May 20th saw a session focused on Leveraging InDesign for Accessible EPUB Creation. If InDesign is part of your book production toolchain, then this webinar gave an invaluable overview of how to get cleaner, more accessible reflowable EPUB output. This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Laura Brady, House of Anansi Press
  • Michael Murphy, Adobe

Session Overview

This was a webinar in 4 parts with top tips and hints for the ebook designer to ensure that their exported EPUBs are as accessible as possible:

Establishing Structure With Styles

Michael Murphy opened the webinar with an overview of the importance of styles within InDesign, the first crucial step in file preparation and one which covers approximately 70% of accessibility related tasks, if properly and consistently used. Using paragraph and character styles enables you to achieve as clean and semantically rich accessible EPUB as possible—packing information into the formatting of your file via styles ensures that your EPUB is off to a flying start.

Edit All Export Tags

Export tagging of your styles avoids HTML cleanup later and Laura Brady showed  everyone how to successfully edit tags so that the HTML is as precise and semantic as possible:

Let the HTML do the accessibility heavy lifting

With a little nudging InDesign will perform and Laura demo’d various screens with us during the webinar

Image Output and Alt Text

In order to achieve an end result where the order, appearance and alt text of images are as intended in the final EPUB, Michael showed us various settings needed to ensure accessibility and good reflow of images.

Semantics and Post-Export CleanUp

Laura explained that InDesign has a full set of semantics built in and how we should think of epub:type as the scaffolding on which we can build ARIA roles. If you are passionate about accessibility then you should think of the InDesign Export EPUB as a starting point and be prepared to clean up the file with Laura’s list of specific cleanup tasks.

Related Resources

Discover the other webinars we’re running!

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2020: A Publisher’s “At Home” Toolkit & Quiz

Logo for Global Accessibility Awareness DayGAAD takes place on May 21 this year and we’d like to encourage all our readers to take part so that we can build awareness in our industry and play our part to increase the availability of your digital content to people with print disabilities, particularly during this challenging time when many of you are working from home. If your organization has an accessibility advocate then this is their chance to build awareness and co-ordinate activities that your teams may be able to take part in whilst self-isolating.

In 2019 there were some exciting events surrounding GAAD and we have put together a few ideas to help you organize something this year. It might be an event surrounding awareness building and advocacy or it might be a more technical dive into what makes an accessible ebook. Whatever you choose, please send us the details so that we can tell others about your good work and build on this for future events. Contact us here.

We have lots of ideas to get you started:

Take Our Accessibility Quiz!

How much do you know about ebook accessibility? Try out our quiz, share it with colleagues and see who is really “in the know”.  This is just for fun, but you can find your score along with information about each of the questions after you finish. Easy to complete from home and very straightforward to include in a variety of activities that you may have planned. Good Luck!

The Inclusive Publishing GAAD Quiz

Awareness Building

You can easily do this from your home office so long as you and your team are online and communicating

  • Put together a blog piece in advance of GAAD. This will help to raise awareness amongst your colleagues about what GAAD is all about. We have resources and tools that you can include in your post to spark interest and encourage questions! A good place to start is our Introduction to Inclusive Publishing.
  • Check out your website: do you have an accessibility statement about your digital content? If not then perhaps you can set about writing something on GAAD. Have a look at the work of ASPIRE which is all about increasing the effectiveness of your organizational accessibility statement
  • Hold an online social event to promote your support of accessible publishing. Set up a “party” on zoom to discuss awareness issues and next steps for your company when you return to the workplace. (Zoom offers the most accessible online conferencing experience we have found).

User Experience

GAAD is a great chance to find out for yourself what it’s like to be a print disabled reader. You can put together all manner of sessions to focus on this but here are a few ideas:

  • Go mouseless for an hour—unplug your mouse and only use your keyboard (tab/shift tab, arrow keys, enter and spacebar) to navigate and interact with content.
  • Experience reading using assistive technology – try 10 minutes with a screen reader for example
  • You may wish to set up a UX session so that your colleagues can experience accessibility features such as Voice Over.
  • Try your hand at writing image descriptions—collect a few images from the content that you publish together with some contextual information. See how your colleagues fare in writing alt text! This could be a fun challenge that would be easy or organise for those of you working from home.

Accessible EPUB

  • GAAD for Geeks! If you can it would be very helpful if your technical ebook developers can run an online demonstration of what makes an EPUB accessible. The benefits of using EPUB 3 are significant for accessibility and a short presentation about this would greatly increase understanding of the technical advantages of building a11y in from the very start of the content creation process. See our top tips page for some guidance on this.
  • Ask the Expert! EPUB for non-technical teams. Try running something similar for your non-technical teams. They may not need to know the technical details but will appreciate and understand information on how your content production teams are handling accessibility for mainstream product. Our EPUB resources pages for publishers will be able to give you some pointers on this.

Webinars

Encourage your colleagues to watch one of our free webinars available on the DAISY YouTube channel. We have many different sessions available already and lots more planned for the future so this would be a terrific time to ask your co-workers to choose something new and interesting. If you host a discussion following a webinar viewing you could initiate some interesting debate which we would love to hear about.

Other Events We’ve Heard About

Some of our amazing inclusive Publishing Partners have organized events for GAAD 2020 and we have listed those we know about below…please keep us updated if there are any others planned:

  • Red Shelf: are running an educational session about the accessible creation and distribution of Open Educational Resources. Register for this RedShelf event here to join at 1pm CST on Thursday 21 May
  • The LIA Foundation: are holding two online presentations entitled—Toward an accessible publishing ecosystem & Offering services through smartspeakers:
    challenges and opportunities of a new kind of UI—both on Friday 22 May, you can register at the LIA Accessibility Days event page