The DAISY Planet has published a useful update on the Born Accessible Content Checker from DZB in Germany. Using the Ace by DAISY accessibility checking tool, BACC is a web application which allows publishers and publishing service providers to check the compliance of ebooks in the EPUB format. To read more about this initiative from the German Central Library for the Blind you can access DAISY’s article in the Planet Newsletter.
Inclusive Publishing readers can get 10% off tickets to ebookcraft and Tech Forum 2019, March 18-19 in Toronto, by using the promo code DAISY10. Take a look at the schedule to see the lineup so far and watch out for DAISY sessions which will be announced soon. The last day for early-bird pricing is Jan. 25 and registration closes on March 12.
It’s been a busy year for Inclusive Publishing and, as we look forward to 2019, Richard Orme, CEO of the DAISY Consortium, reflects on some of this year’s successes for accessible publishing and our industry.
As an industry hub and news portal, InclusivePublishing.
We’ve been pleased to report on some terrific events this year as accessibility becomes a major focus for publishers worldwide. In March we presented the Ace tool at ebookcraft in Toronto. The London Book Fair in April saw the 10th Annual Accessibility Action Group seminar focus on Strategies for Success and we were proud to stand alongside other industry stalwarts on the podium. June saw our DAISY Symposium entitled Building Bridges for Better Access, which focused on the accessible study materials.
In October we covered the new-look Digital Book World and we were delighted to play a major role at this exciting event. We are already looking forward to next year! And the Accessing Higher Ground conference in November was a huge opportunity to hear from a wide variety of publishers about the strides towards inclusive publishing practices.
The DAISY Consortium now maintains and develops EPUBCheck, the conformance validator for the EPUB format. We rounded off the year by reporting on the release of version 4.1. EPUBCheck is overseen by the W3C and funded by generous contributions from across the digital publishing landscape.
We’ve been very lucky to work with some top-quality authors this year and our thanks go to all of them for their contributions and news updates. From event reports to opinion pieces, we’ve been fortunate to be able to publish some terrific pieces of extremely high quality. In addition, we have been delighted with the response to our new interview pieces: Inspiring Words from Industry Leaders. Our interviewees are indeed an inspiration and we will be adding to this stellar line-up in 2019.
Accessibility has been a common thread in conversations across the publishingindustry for quite a few years now, but from anecdotal evidence 2018 appears to mark the start of something special—widespread mainstream adoption of accessibility. This reflects the changes we have seen and supported in accessible content creation and validation, but also throughout the supply chain, with a positive impact on education services, reading systems and the metadata which makes the whole process function.
It’s very important to us that we continue to support the wider industry on this journey towards inclusive publishing, and with this in mind, we have created a short end of year survey so that we may take a snapshot of our community. We’d be very grateful if you could spare a few minutes to complete the survey (now closed) and to help us gauge where we are, and also to report to you all on how we are progressing as an industry. Our thanks to all those who have completed this already—we look forward to sharing the anonymous results with you all soon.
We look towards 2019 with perhaps more optimism and enthusiasm than previous years. It has been wonderful to see how the industry has responded to our InclusivePublishing website and newsletter, and we hope that you will all continue to support us—we rely on your input and are very grateful for it. There are some exciting developments we look forward to sharing with you next year, and we will continue to publish both technical and non-technical information to cater for all our readers in this way.
We wish you all a very peaceful holiday and we look forward to an exciting year ahead.
After the success of the France’s National Day on Access to Books and Reading: Let’s Find Solutions Together , BrailleNet, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Book and Reading and The National School of Sciences of the World and libraries (Enssib) join forces again to organize the first National Accessible Digital Book Meeting.
With lectures in the morning and practical workshops in the afternoon, publishing professionals will be able to:
- stay informed about industry developments to extend accessibility to all
- become familiar with and / or improve their knowledge of digital accessibility
- share their experiences and expectations
The event is aimed at all book and reading professionals and includes a session entitled: Ace by Example where Luc Audrain (Hachette Livre) and Fernando Pinto (EDRLab) will look at what the Ace by DAISY tool can test for and at the consequences of nonconformities for the reader.
January 17, 2019
Enssib, Villerbanne, France
As we rapidly approach the end of 2018, it’s the perfect time for us all to reflect on the progress we have made as a global industry in our work towards publications that can be enjoyed by all readers. Our short survey should only take a few minutes to complete and will allow us to share a snapshot of the community in the new year, as well as make progress towards identifying gaps in the current solutions, be they informational, technical, training provision or reference.
The survey can be accessed here —it is intended for publishing organizations. If you are not actively publishing content in digital formats we thank you for visiting, but ask that you do not complete this survey – we look forward to hearing your views another time and always welcome comments and suggestions though our Contact Form.
We very much value your contribution, and respect your privacy. No identifiable information you submit about yourself or your organization will ever be published or shared in any way.
Thank you once again for your participation. We look forward to sharing a general summary of responses on the Inclusive Publishing website in the new year.
The OZeWAI 2018 conference, hosted by the ABC in Sydney, has now ended and a great time was had by all. The three-day event is held every year as Australia’s dedicated national conference for digital access specialists and is renowned for its great community atmosphere and presentations with this year being no exception. Here’s some of my personal highlights from the three days.
The keynote was delivered remotely by Nic Steen out from Knowbility titled No Rights, No Responsibility. The speaker made the point that it is important to ensure that people with disability are included in the digital access processes and that training is critical in making sure that effective digital access is achieved.
Another great presentation was Here comes WCAG 2.1! by Amanda Mace from Web Key IT and Julie Grundy from Intopia. There was some great discussion across the new WCAG 2.1 Success Criteria, explaining the importance of things like reflow and ensuring that content on mobile devices needs to work effectively for people that may not be able to move their device to activate various sensors. With this year marking the WCAG 2.1 release it was a great introduction as to how the new extensions build on the legacy WCAG 2.0 requirements.
Just before the lunch break on the first day it was my turn to present, discussing the W3C work on inaccessible CAPTCHA. In the presentation I talked about how traditional CAPTCHAs such as the use of text on bitmapped images and audio-based CAPTCHAs are not only inaccessible but also not secure. I also provided an update on the advice our group has been putting together as part of the CAPTCHA advisory note. It was great to have a chance to share the information.
Another session that I really enjoyed was Andrew Downie’s presentation titled The Graphics Divide – When the alt Attribute does not Suffice. I’m frequently asked in workshops as to what is best practice when using alternative text, and Andrew illustrated the point well using popular landmarks and providing relevant text descriptions. The key takeaway from his talk is that it’s relatively easy to use alternative text for WCAG compliance, but that doesn’t mean it’s accessible.
A presenter I always enjoy is Greg Alchin, and he did a great job in discussing the importance of ePub. In a PDF-obsessed world, Greg made the point well that there are a lot of tools and readers available to make the most of the ePub format which is essentially web pages compiled into a document format. While there’s still no WYSIWYG editor that works well for the ePub format and this was a point acknowledged as a current restriction, it’s encouraging to hear that there are plans for it to be included in the Office suite in the future which will go a long way to addressing this issue. Greg’s presentation is available on YouTube.
On the second day I featured in a second presentation hosted by Sean Murphy from Cisco Systems whereby we discussed the accessibility implications of Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. When Sean invited me to join him, he said it’d be great to structure it like a fireside chat, so we had an agreement whereby he would bring the questions, and I would bring the fire. As such, I had my laptop next to me playing a YouTube video of ‘HD fireplace with crackle’ while we discussed the implications. Sean made several great points about how the quality of data will heavily determine the effectiveness of our AI perceptions and how issues such as security still have a long way to go. I also talked about my Curtin research as it related to the IoT needs of students in tertiary education.
The last presentation that really had an impact on me was Making Chatbots Accessible by Ross Mullen. Until this presentation I had always assumed that chat boxes were largely a no-go zone for accessibility, but Ross explained that if an effort is made then both conversational support and accessibility can be achieved.
In addition to the presentations it was also great to catch up with lots of familiar faces at the breaks and conference dinners. I also really enjoyed making new friends and meeting many of the Alumni from the Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility course.
Special thanks to the OZeWAI committee for putting on such a great conference. If you were unable to get to OZeWAI, you and watch all the session recordings which are now available on YouTube.
This post has been cross-posted with the permission of the author, Dr Scott Hollier, Digital Access Specialist, Author and Lecturer. The original posting of this article is available via Scott’s consultancy website.
Images have been reproduced from the OZeWAI twitter account.
I had the pleasure of organizing a session at the 21st Accessing Higher Ground conference in Denver in mid-November—a conference that is attended by a lot of folks from Disability Services Offices (DSOs) from across the US—to help those folks realize how much the big higher education publishers are doing to make their resources accessible, with a focus on accessible EPUBs.
“Born Accessible” is getting closer to the new normal!
The publishers on my panel were from Cengage, Macmillan Learning, McGraw-Hill Education, Pearson and Wiley, and they all had compelling stories to tell. While I don’t have space here to get into everything they had to say (the consolidated presentation is available here), the message was clear: they are not just working hard on accessibility, they’re getting it done. All of them are producing new resources as accessible EPUBs that align with the EPUB Accessibility 1.0 specification.
That means alt text—good alt text, done with an understanding of the nuances required to get it right—and in many cases extended descriptions of complex graphics as well. All of them are ensuring proper structuring and navigation. For resources that include media, most are providing closed captioning and transcripts. And those with math are providing MathML. They’re even working hard to get their tables right!
But it’s more than just the products themselves. The corporate cultures need to be accessibility aware. Cengage, for example, is putting a major focus on Universal Design for Learning (UDL), including a significant staffing commitment: a Director of Universal Design and Accessible Technologies is already on board, and an Accessibility/UDL Specialist and an Accessibility/UDL Coordinator are soon to be named.
Macmillan Learning’s presentation was all about the people and the processes, with a realization that just providing specs and expecting vendors to get it right is not sufficient. They have established a wealth of initiatives to foster knowledge of accessibility throughout their organization, with training and workshops that include vendors, creating a judgment free space to encourage motivation, participating in industry events and organizations, building a testing center in-house, and establishing an Advisory Board and Student Focus Groups to involve their constituents.
McGraw-Hill provided an in-depth look at the specifics, detailing both alternative text and extended descriptions not just for alignment but as captions and transcripts for audio and video content, enforcing contrast specs in their designs, use of MathML, using language tags at the page and phrase levels, and even tackling proper structuring of tables.
Pearson stressed their end-to-end commitment to accessibility for both their content and platforms, all based on WCAG 2.0 AA conformance and alignment with EPUB Accessibility 1.0. They are putting a special priority on making these accessible resources easy for students to obtain and use, through initiatives like their partnership with VitalSource to establish the Pearson Accessibility Store, all resources of which are guaranteed to be accessible, and partnerships with Kurzweil and T-Base to integrate well with those key technologies.
Wiley is doing all these good things too. (They came last due to alphabetical order.) They are addressing accessibility not just for going-forward content, but for legacy content as well, and expanding into other business areas outside of higher ed. Because of the diversity and technical nature of much of their content, they are working on discipline-specific alt text guidelines. And like several of the other speakers, they mentioned that they are working with Benetech on their Global Certified Accessible program, expecting to be certified this summer.
The message was clear: these folks are working hard on accessibility, and many of their products and platforms are much more accessible than students and DSOs realize. They’re doing this by aligning with standards and taking advantage of the right resources, like Ace by DAISY and the Accessible Publishing Knowledge Base. “Born Accessible” is getting closer to the new normal!
This event report was kindly submitted by Bill Kasdorf, Principal, Kasdorf & Associates
The CSUN Assistive Technology Conference will be held in March this year and it promises to be as exceptional as ever. More than 5,000 people gathered last year to explore new technologies designed to assist people with disabilities. Registration begins on January 8, 2019 and of particular interest to inclusive publishing readers are the following sessions:
- Accessibility Initiatives and Commitments from Major Higher Ed Publishers—March 13, 10.00am
- EPUB 101: Essential briefing for all higher education professionals—March 14, 2.20pm
- Using Microsoft Word to author accessible EPUB 3 publications—March 14, 3.20pm
- Telling Images: The FOCUS/LOCUS Method for Accessible Image Description—March 14, 3.20pm
March 11-15, 2019
ebookcraft is a two-day conference dedicated to ebook production—if you’re looking for a mix of practical tips and forward-thinking inspiration, you won’t want to miss it.The main conference day for ebookcraft 2019 will be held on Tuesday, March 19 with workshops on Monday, March 18. for the #eprdctn crowd for whom this conference is designed.
Early bird pricing is available until January 25, 2019 and newsletter updates are also available. Check back here for program highlights for the inclusive publishing community, as they are released by the organizers.
March 18-19, 2019
To access registration and conference details visit the ebookcraft website.
EPUBCheck plays a significant role within the ebook production process, checking EPUB files against the specification to ensure they validate. As the EPUB specification has evolved over time it is important that the tools we use to create and validate EPUB files are kept up to date. Many retailers require EPUB files to have been validated by EPUBCheck. However, in its current state, EPUBCheck cannot properly validate many EPUBs that meet the most up to date standards.
To address this the Publishing Business Group at W3C put out a request for proposals to update EPUBCheck, and following a competitive selection process the DAISY Consortium has been selected to perform the update to:
- Bring EPUBCheck in sync with the dynamically evolving core web specs of HTML, CSS, and SVG and also with the current version of EPUB 3
- Fully support the EPUB Accessibility Guidelines, making sure that your products are usable for everyone
- Add new features, such as HTML validation (in coordination with the W3C validation services) and a better check of media overlays
- Offer better service to the publishing industry with a faster response to bug reports and feature request.
This work is being funded through donations from organizations which use the EPUBCheck tool, and while there are different sponsorship levels, any amount of donation is welcome to help support this effort to update and overhaul EPUBCheck. Full details are available at the Publishing@W3C fundraising page.
We look forward to bringing you updates as this exciting work evolves.
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